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30 March, 2022 - 13:33 By Tony Quested

Oxbridge cancer treatment alliance leveraging biocomputer power

Cambridge biocomputer pioneer BiologIC Technologies has struck a new deal with an Oxford partner with the potential to slash the cost of expensive therapies and accelerate the development of treatments for diseases such as cancer.

Gene and cell therapy specialist Oxford Biomedica is to use BiologIC’s unique biocomputer system as part of its work to develop viral vectors used in personalised cancer therapies. 

BiologIC’s biocomputer technology offers a fast, cost-effective, scalable alternative to traditional drug development and classical industrial-scale manufacturing.

The company has created a programmable system for producing biology and data on demand. BiologIC uses proprietary technology and IP in the design, fabrication and application of novel Bio Processing Units (BPUs) that operate on the biocomputer platform.

The BPUs, inspired by the integrated circuit that drove the information processing revolution, have the potential to significantly increase the biological processing power available to application developers.

Oxford Biomedica will collaborate with BiologIC on new applications that advance the development of novel viral vectors and their manufacturing processes. Oxford Biomedica will use the platform to innovate new processes, integrate traditionally discrete workflows and gain valuable insights from real-time data.

Richard Vellacott, CEO of BiologIC Technologies said: “We are inventors of the biocomputer. Our ambition is that the biocomputer will drive a revolution in biology to help humanity address global problems, such as the existential threat of diseases, in sustainable and accessible ways.

“Oxford Biomedica has an outstanding track record for technology innovation, and so we are particularly delighted to collaborate with this leading gene and cell therapy group to support the development of powerful new processes and data insights using the biocomputer platform.”

London Stock Exchange-quoted Oxford Biomedica announced in January that it was broadening its leading viral vector offerings by incorporating Homology Medicines’ established AAV capabilities into a newly formed AAV Manufacturing and Innovation Business in the US with Homology Medicines as a 20 per cent owner. 

To date, Oxford Biomedica and its subsidiaries have built a sector-leading lentiviral vector delivery platform (LentiVector®), which it leverages to develop in vivo and ex vivo products both in-house and with partners. The group has created a valuable proprietary portfolio of gene and cell therapy product candidates in the areas of oncology, CNS disorders and liver diseases. 

It has also entered into a number of partnerships, including with Novartis, Bristol Myers Squibb, Boehringer Ingelheim, Beam Therapeutics, Arcellx, Cabaletta, Orchard Therapeutics and Santen, through which it has long-term economic interests in other potential gene and cell therapy products.

Additionally, the group has signed a three-year master supply and development agreement with AstraZeneca for large-scale manufacturing of the adenoviral based COVID-19 vaccine, AZD1222. Oxford Biomedica is based across several locations in Oxfordshire and employs more than 740 people. 

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