CAMBRIDGE, Mass., July 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Microbia, Inc. today announced that its Precision Engineering(TM) business unit has entered into a research collaboration with A*STAR's Bioprocessing Technology Institute (BTI) in Singapore to improve the efficiency of secondary metabolite production from actinomycete bacteria. Under the terms of the agreement, BTI scientists will combine Microbia's proprietary profiling and informatic methods with complementary metabolic engineering technology and approaches to construct a set of genetic tools designed to improve actinomycete-based pharmaceutical production systems.
The initial target of the Microbia-BTI collaboration is to more efficiently produce specific cytotoxic metabolites under development for use in cancer therapeutics. Longer term, the partners' objective is to identify genes that facilitate rational strain improvement for a broad spectrum of pharmaceutical products made by taxonomically related microbes.
Secondary metabolites produced by fermentation of actinomycetes are one of the most important sources of pharmaceuticals. The aggregate market for these products exceeds $11 billion and includes antibiotics and anti-tumor drugs, with a number of potentially valuable anticancer compounds currently undergoing clinical trials.
"By combining Microbia's powerful platform for engineering industrial microbes with our strong technology base in, and deep knowledge of, genomics and process development, we aim to create a new paradigm for more efficient and cost-effective production of pharmaceutical compounds from actinomycetes," said Miranda Yap, Executive Director of BTI.
"We expect that we can greatly facilitate the speed and efficiency of actinomycete-based biomanufacturing processes by applying strategies similar to those that have proven effective for Microbia in engineering recalcitrant industrial fungal strains," said Richard Bailey, Ph.D., Vice President and General Manager of Microbia's Precision Engineering(TM) business. "We look forward to collaborating with BTI in this effort."
Microbia (http://www.microbia.com) is an entrepreneurial pharmaceutical company dedicated to the science and art of great drugmaking. The Company currently has a gastrointestinal disease drug candidate in Phase I clinical studies and is preparing to advance a cholesterol absorption inhibitor into clinical trials. Our Precision Engineering(TM) business unit collaborates with leading pharmaceutical and chemical manufacturers to improve efficiencies of existing fermentation processes or to create new bioprocesses. Microbia has raised $99 million in private equity financing and is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
ABOUT BIOPROCESSING TECHNOLOGY INSTITUTE
The Bioprocessing Technology Institute (BTI) is a national institute funded by the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) through its Biomedical Research Council. BTI spearheads bioprocess science and engineering research by combining molecular biology, biochemistry, proteomic and genomic sciences, to understand how to enhance the productivity of cells, develop better cell culture, fermentation and separation processes to manufacture important molecules such as antibodies, recombinant DNA and proteins that target a myriad of diseases. Creating a vibrant technology base while training a cadre of resourceful talents, BTI also engages in research collaborations leading to proprietary technologies with local and overseas companies and universities.