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COVID-19: UK-based SME offers recombinant protein production services to partners developing coronavirus diagnostics

Country of Origin: United Kingdom
Reference Number: TOUK20200521001
Publication Date: 21 May 2020


A UK-based SME is offering its recombinant protein production expertise to companies, universities and research organisation developing diagnostic tests for coronavirus. The SME's technology enables production of good quantities of high quality protein in mammalian cell systems. It is envisaged that the partnerships will take the form of a commercial agreement with technical assistance, technical cooperation agreement or a research cooperation agreement.


The current coronavirus pandemic has raised the urgent need for accurate and fast diagnostic testing for this new disease. Development of such diagnostics requires the production of the relevant viral proteins. These proteins need to be of a high quality and an accurate copy of the in-vivo proteins to ensure the accuracy of the test. In many cases these proteins are manufactured using bacteria systems but while this delivers scale the protein generated may not have the accurate folding seen in the proteins in patients leading to a reduction in accuracy. Mammalian cell systems would give this accuracy but at reduced scale.

A UK-based SME that specialises in generating difficult to produce recombinant proteins in mammalian cells. The SME has expertise in generating proteins with the correct folding and at good quantities. The SME is offering this technical capability to companies, research institutions and universities that are developing coronavirus diagnostic tests for laboratory settings and point-of-care. The SME will develop and generate the viral proteins required for the partner's research and development programme. The partnership is envisaged as a commercial agreement with technical assistance, technical cooperation agreement or a research cooperation agreement depending on the partner and their particular circumstances.

Advantages and Innovations

The UK-based SME's technology and approach have the following advantages:

Expression of difficult proteins in a short time period at uncompromising quality.

Proteins generated with the correct folding, matching the in-vivo situation.

Increased amount of protein produced - the SME's stable expression vector system can increase protein expression by up to 200-fold when compared to standard mammalian expression systems.

Stage Of Development

Under development/lab tested

Requested partner

The UK-based SME is looking to partner with companies, universities and research institutions that are developing diagnostic tests and products for coronavirus. The SME will work with the company to generate the required recombinant proteins using mammalian cells lines to aid test development. The partner will be expected to feed back to the SME on performance to help the SME to refine and develop their techniques and protocols. It is envisaged that the partnership will take the form of a research cooperation agreement, technical cooperation agreement or a commercial agreement with technical assistance depending on the partner and their particular situation.

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