CHOPPI: A revolutionary new informatics tool to assess the immunogenic risk of host cell protein (HCP) contaminants in the protein production process


Three years ago this month, researchers from Shenzen published the CHO-K1 genomic sequence in Nature Biotechnology, making it the first publicly available genome sequence for CHO cells, one of the most commonly utilized cell lines for protein production worldwide. With the CHO-K1 genomic sequence and ancestral CHO genome sequence (published August  2013) biotechnology researchers can better harness the power of informatics and genetic technology to improve the safety and efficacy of CHO protein production.

In the spirit of this progress scientists at EpiVax and Dartmouth created a new tool to help protein engineers reduce immunogenic risk of host cell proteins. The CHOPPI tool allows users to search through a collection of proteins and genetic information on CHO cells and quickly access data on how immunogenic and “human-like” a protein is in comparison to others, giving them access to rapid immunological assessment of potential host cell protein contaminants.

More CHOPPI content can be found in our recent press release and our open access article in Biotechnology and Bioengineering

EpiVax: The Immunogenicity Experts

Chugai Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. (Chugai), signed an agreement with Rhode Island-based biotechnology company, EpiVax, Inc., to incorporate EpiVax’s ISPRI immunogenicity screening and deimmunization technology into Chugai’s drug development toolbox. Chugai is widely regarded as one of the most cutting edge biopharmaceutical companies in Japan. Researchers at Chugai will be utilizing the cloud-based in silico “Interactive Protein Screening and Reengineering Interface” (ISPRI) in conjunction with OptiMatrix, a tool for deimmunizing biologics, to screen and re-engineer therapeutic proteins for potential immunogenicity and deimmunize immune-dominant epitopes, known as clusters.

Dr. Tomoyuki Igawa, group manager of Discovery Research Department, of Chugai said, “Integration of ISPRI into the Chugai’s antibody engineering and optimization platform will reduce the immunogenicity risk and increase the likelihood of successful clinical development for important, human life-saving biologics.”

“Our unique approach to developing safe and effective protein therapeutics by screening for T effector and T regulatory epitopes (Tregitopes) is at the core of the ISPRI Toolkit,” said Anne De Groot, M.D., President and CEO of EpiVax. . . .

Read the full press release by clicking this link.

Other news updates:

The GAIA Vaccine Foundation and EpiVax: Using Textiles as Social Media to Improve Vaccine Awareness

GAIA Vaccine Foundation’s Story-Telling Cloth receives “Grand Challenges Explorations Grant” Award For West African-Style “Social Media” Cervical Cancer Prevention Campaign. Read the rest of the article from the Providence Journal

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