Blog: How does AbZelect™ improve cell line development productivity?

17th January 2024

How does improve cell line development productivity? A Q&A with Simon Keen

Could you provide an overview of the AbZelect™ and AbZelectPRO™ platforms?
AbZelect™ and AbZelectPRO™ are cell line development (CLD) platforms that enable the rapid generation and selection of high-yielding mammalian Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cell lines for therapeutic protein and recombinant vaccine production. Abzena’s proprietary, license-free AbZelect™ is optimized across the three key areas of vector, host cell line, and process. It provides improved cell doubling times, viable cell densities, and robust and stable cell lines.

What are the benefits of using the AbZelectTM platform?
The AbZelectTM platform enables rapid progression to clinical trials, streamlining development and accelerating production timelines, with cell banks generated in only 15 weeks. Offering higher stable clone productivity, more drug product can be produced per manufacturing run, reducing the costs of goods per dose. The platform also de-risks the pathway to the clinic with an in-built risk mitigation strategy.

Who should be using the AbZelectTM platform?
The platform is designed to support biopharma companies with an asset destined for the clinic but perhaps don’t have the means to achieve this in-house. By relying on the AbZelectTM platform, these companies also gain the benefits of partnering with Abzena, including access to our expertise and experience in efficiently developing drugs for successful Investigational New Drug (IND) application.

For programs where higher titres are critical , including those for more difficult-to-express proteins like bispecifics and fusion proteins, the AbzelectPROTM platform provides the best option to generate stable pools with enhanced expression levels.

What is the difference between your AbZelectTM and AbZelectPROTM platforms?
The AbZelect™ platform utilizes an optimized, proprietary license-free vector. Based on CHO cells, the system relies on a glutamine synthetase (GS) selection system to isolate highly productive cells. Coupled with an optimized CLD process, AbZelect™ rapidly generates and selects high-yielding stable CHO cell lines for biotherapeutic production.

AbZelectPROTM combines the AbZelectTM platform and ProteoNic’s 2G UNic® premium vector technology to achieve the highest production levels. Leveraging the 2G UNic® vector, AbZelectPROTM boosts expression levels and generates higher-producing, stable cell lines expressing proteins including bispecifics, fusion proteins and other novel modalities.

How does AbZelect differ from other CLD providers?
There are three key aspects of CLD, each of which has been optimized in our AbZelectTM platform, including:

  • Vector: Enhancement of the vector through codon optimization and re-organization of regulatory elements enables improved productivity at the cellular level. The use of GS selection also promotes greater stability.
  • Host cell line: Our CHO cell line has undergone directed evolution, being forced through multiple passages in bioreactors. Through each round, viable cell densities increased at faster rates, while maintaining high expression capacity.
  • Process: The overall process has undergone significant optimization to improve efficiency and productivity.

How do the platforms fit with Abzena’s wider service offerings?
The AbZelectTM and AbZelectPROTM platforms are seamlessly integrated into our wider services. For example, the platforms allow multiple candidates to be taken forward from protein engineering to the generation of stable pools for more in-depth characterization. The platform also aligns with the manufacturing service, providing high productivity with every manufacturing run. Used alongside our analytical development expertise, we can adapt our testing methods or develop new assays to safeguard the quality of your therapy from CLD to manufacturing.

Connect with our experts today to learn more about how both platforms provide cost efficiencies and optionality to de-risk your biologics pathway to IND by clicking here.

About the author:  Simon Keen, Scientific Leader at Abzena

Simon has over 28 years of experience of molecular biology and cell line development in the biotechnology industry. His career started working on antibody humanization technologies at the Medical Research Council (MRC) antibody engineering group, before moving to work for multiple small and mid-size biotech companies in the Cambridge UK ecosystem. Simon has developed a deep expertise in different production systems for vaccine, antibody and fusion protein therapies. Having spent the last 15 years at Abzena, Simon has helped to develop mammalian cell line development technologies suitable for the manufacture of biological drugs and is now VP, Cell Line Development. He sits on Abzena’s Scientific Leadership Group, working with clients to shape projects to meet the demands of pre-clinical and clinical development for their drug candidates, to guide them through to regulatory submission.