DUBLIN, Ohio, Sept. 12, 2006 – Cardinal Health, the leading provider of products and services supporting the health-care industry, today announced it has entered an agreement with Trubion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. to investigate a new method to rapidly produce biopharmaceuticals that are one-third to one-half the size of traditional protein-based medicines.
Many traditional biopharmaceuticals are monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) comprised of long-chain proteins that can sometimes fail to reach their intended targets because of challenges related to their large size. Trubion’s proprietary Small Modular Immunopharmaceutical (SMIP™) drug design technology creates drug candidates of single-chain polypeptides, or short proteins, which are one-third to one-half the size of traditional therapeutic mAbs. Because of their smaller size, SMIP™ proteins may facilitate tissue penetration in certain disease states, while retaining the beneficial therapeutic characteristics of larger molecules.
Cardinal Health will use its patented GPEx™ technology for rapid genetic engineering of stable cell lines that express the Trubion SMIP™ molecule in sufficient quantities to support Trubion’s clinical trial needs.
“The biopharmaceutical industry is at a critical time when complex molecules are being developed on an unprecedented scale for a wide array of disease states, many of which are underserved by existing drugs,” said Paul Weiss, PhD, president of Cardinal Health’s biopharmaceutical development services center. “While GPEx™ has been used to engineer cell lines that produce more ‘traditional’ biopharmaceuticals, such as fully tetrameric monoclonal antibodies and other larger recombinant proteins, this agreement calls for us to use GPEx™ to engineer cell lines that express an engineered novel SMIP™ molecule. We believe GPEx™ is very well suited for these type of products, given its inherent flexibility for cell line transduction.”
In addition to enabling rapid cell line development and availability of candidate gene products, the GPEx™ technology is well suited for rapid and efficient expression of antibodies and other therapeutic recombinant proteins for both pilot and large-scale production.
Cardinal Health provides a comprehensive biopharmaceutical offering that is unmatched in terms of breadth for both clinical and commercial projects. Cardinal Health can begin a customer project with a gene, use GPEx™ technology to produce the necessary quantities of an antibody, package vials of the antibody at a fill/finish sterile manufacturing site and then distribute them to the clinic.
Financial terms of the agreement between Trubion and Cardinal Health were not disclosed.
About GPEx™ Technology
A study published in Nature Biotechnology last year estimates that there are approximately 500 biopharmaceuticals currently in clinical development. With existing technology, it can take as long as 18 months to develop the transgenic cell lines needed to produce these complex molecules. The creation of these cell lines is a crucial step required before sufficient quantities of the protein or antibody can be produced to perform clinical trials. GPEx™ can generate stable cell lines that exhibit significantly higher levels of expression than those cell lines generated by standard methods and can achieve this in as little as six months.
The GPEx™ retrovector system can insert single copies of specific genes into multiple locations in DNA of cells. GPEx™ mimics natural gene transfer phenomena, resulting in greater transgene stability, and more consistent protein expression.
About Cardinal Health
Headquartered in Dublin, Ohio, Cardinal Health, Inc. (NYSE: CAH) is an $81 billion, global company serving the health-care industry with a broad portfolio of products and services. It manufactures, packages, and distributes pharmaceuticals and medical supplies, offers a range of clinical services and develops automation products that improve the management and delivery of supplies and medication for hospitals, physician offices and pharmacies. Through this diverse offering, Cardinal Health delivers integrated health-care solutions that help customers reduce their costs, improve efficiency and deliver better care to patients. Ranked No. 19 on the Fortune 500, Cardinal Health employs more than 55,000 people on six continents. More information about the company may be found at www.cardinalhealth.com.