US pharma manufacturer Conagen acquires glycoproteins production platform

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US pharma manufacturer Conagen has purchased a glycoproteins production platform – a fermentation-based technology for the production of glycoproteins used for making therapeutics, for an undisclosed price.

The acquisition made from an undisclosed seller includes various patents covering the glycoproteins production platform and all related tangible assets, which are expected to place Conagen among the top developers of active pharmaceutical ingredients.

Apart from a suite of over 10 already developed therapeutic glycoproteins, the host platform will be used by the US pharma manufacturer for developing novel and also generic drugs.

Conagen acquires glycoproteins production platform

Conagen acquires glycoproteins production platform. Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles/

Oliver Yu – co-founder and CEO of Conagen, commenting on the glycoproteins production platform, said: “The platform will reduce costs, and the savings can be passed down to patients. This is important to the pharmaceutical industry which is under increasing pressure to reduce time and capital in developing drugs.”

Industrial fermentation usually uses microbes which can be rapidly cultured at the largest scales without cell disruption or losses in productivity.  Characteristics of the therapeutics, which include desirable glycostructures and other post-translational modifications, have restricted their commercial production to fragile mammalian cell systems at comparatively small scales.

Commenting on the glycoproteins production platform, Casey Lippmeier – Vice President of Research and Development at Conagen said: “One of the most exciting features of this host organism is its ability to express glycoproteins harboring glycostructures which promote the desired immune cell functions.  This is a very unusual feature to find in a robustly fermentable microbe.  It is also advantaged by its ability to tolerate the engineering required to customize these glycostructures while preserving the microbe’s robustness.”

According to Conagen, the entire $100 billion immunotherapy and antibody-drug conjugate market is based on the blockbuster monoclonal antibodies, which are the largest category of therapeutic glycoproteins.

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