New cell engineering partnership to accelerate biopharma innovation 

Mekonos, a company working towards cell engineering on a chip, has entered into a partnership agreement with Accelerated Bio to codevelop a new manufacturing cell line based on Accelerated Bio’s human Trophoblast Stem Cells (hTSCs) and Gene Engineered Multi-Sites (GEMS) technology. 

Dr Anil Narasimha, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Mekonos, said: “Our platform brings together semiconductor, microfluidic, and surface chemistry technologies to enable the full potential of gene editing for cell therapies and cell engineering through the precise and gentle delivery of a wide variety of molecular cargo into individual cells. We look forward to working closely with the team at Accelerated Bio to enable the development of a next-generation cell line for biomanufacturing from their unique stem cell source.” 

Accelerated Bio out-licenses its commercial grade hTSC platform for drug discovery, therapy development, biomanufacturing and toxicology. The hTSC platform is the earliest ethically sourced pluripotent stem cells that are naive, powerful, lively and have high plasticity. hTSCs also naturally perform functions of many cell types and are immune privileged.  As such, the hTSC platform is an ideal starting material and significantly increases go-to-market potential for a new generation of precision medicine applications.    

Yuta Lee, founder and Chief Executive Officer of Accelerated Biosciences Corp, said: “Until now we have struggled to find a good way to insert the GEMS genetic construct into hTSCs without impacting cell health and viability. Now, using Mekonos’ delivery platform, which is very gentle on cells, we will be able to develop a cell line which will offer superior manufacturing scale-up and robust growth compared to existing cell lines.” 

Cell engineering holds the potential to accelerate biopharma innovation across multiple frontiers – biomanufacturing, cell therapies, drug screening, and disease modelling. However, advanced cell line development is constrained in the industry by a lack of efficient and safe payload delivery methods. Both viral vectors and electroporation-based biomolecule delivery have numerous challenges, including cell viability issues, cargo size limitations, cell type restrictions, a lack of dose control, and a lack of precision. These limitations compound and can cause cell functionality compromises and performance issues downstream, given the lack of consistency in engineered cells and inefficient scale-up. 

“Resolving these issues with better manufacturing and delivery techniques is a ‘holy grail’ that has remained out of reach for the biotechnology industry – until now. Mekonos recognises there is a better way, and we are rising to the challenge”, Narasimha added. 

Megan Thomas, Multimedia Editor, DDW

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