DCU/Wyeth Announce Biopharmaceutical Research Collaboration Project
2 June 2005
Dublin, 2 June, 2005: Dublin City University and Wyeth have announced a four-year research project in the production of biopharmaceuticals. The research project will receive €4 million from Science Foundation Ireland (SFI).
The research will be performed at the National Institute for Cellular Biotechnology (NICB) at DCU in collaboration with Wyeth scientists at the Wyeth BioPharma Campuses at Grange Castle, Clondalkin, Ireland and Andover, Massachusetts.
The new Wyeth BioPharma Campus is now in commercial production and this $1.8 Billion investment already employs over 1,000 direct staff and over 400 indirect staff in Clondalkin.
Wyeth and DCU will each contribute significant scientific resources and expertise to the collaboration, which will investigate the molecular basis of advantageous characteristics of Wyeth's proprietary production cell lines and process technology. Wyeth's commitment to the project will be comparable to that underwritten by SFI.
Biopharmaceuticals are drugs produced using living cells as an essential part of the manufacturing process. This new research is intended to facilitate breakthroughs in the yield of therapeutic proteins produced in mammalian cell culture based manufacturing processes. The use of therapeutic proteins has grown rapidly over the past 10 years and has greatly improved the treatment of diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and diabetes.
Commenting on the research collaboration, Dr Maurice Treacy, Director of Biotechnology at SFI, said: "The greatest challenge facing the biopharmaceutical industry is the ability to produce therapeutic proteins in sufficient quantities. It is estimated that industry must increase cell culture capacity by five or six times to meet future demands. This investment will ensure optimization experiments in bioproduction are conducted in Ireland to ensure our expertise remains competitive".
Speaking at the announcement Dr. Brendan Hughes, Development Director, Wyeth BioPharma in Ireland said "Wyeth developed its proprietary Chinese Hamster Ovary (CHO) chip platform to complement the company's expertise in gene expression and cell culture production technologies. The objective of this line of research is to better understand the cell biology and physiology of CHO cells under industrially relevant conditions.
This exciting collaboration with DCU will accelerate the pace of discovery in this program and enable us to acquire and integrate mRNA and protein expression profiling data to get a more complete picture of gene regulatory networks. The joint team is also positioned to move quickly from insights to practical advances in biopharmaceutical production" .
Prof. Martin Clynes, Director of the NICB at Dublin City University, who hosted the event, highlighted the urgent need to make biopharmaceutical development and production costs cheaper if we are to bring the benefits of the many new biotechnology products to all those who are in need of them. To tackle this fundamental scientific problem, the NICB has brought together a team of gifted young scientists to work here in DCU in collaboration with Wyeth, a world leader in industrial biopharmaceutical research. This project illustrates the enthusiasm of the Irish research community, including the universities and the state funding agencies, to collaborate with and support companies like Wyeth which have made a significant contribution to this country.
For further information:
About Wyeth - for further information log on to www.wyeth.com
About National Institute for Cellular Biotechnology (NICB) - for further information log on to www.nicb.ie
About Science Foundation Ireland - for further information log on to www.sfi.ie