Optimvia will leverage Ginkgo’s cell and enzyme engineering platform as well as its fermentation process development expertise to improve the manufacture of biosynthetic heparin.
Heparin is a life-saving drug that prevents blood clots and is classified as an essential medicine by the World Health Organization. In addition to acting as an anticoagulant, it is important in treating a great number of medical issues, including adult respiratory distress syndrome, allergic rhinitis, asthma, and inflammatory bowel disease. Currently, however, it is isolated from animal sources, mostly pig or cattle, which are limited by livestock availability.
What if you could grow life-saving medicines on demand?
Optimvia is a biotechnology company specializing in engineering enzymes and their cofactors to synthesize complex therapeutic molecules. Ginkgo’s platform serves customers across industries seeking to develop new and better products using biotechnology, including partnerships to improve manufacturing processes and strengthen supply chains of key medicines. Producing non-animal derived heparin on Ginkgo’s platform is intended to be the proof of principle for Optimvia’s technology for the synthesis of sulfated glycans.
Enabling enzymatic manufacturing could create supply chain diversity and reduce or eliminate the need for high volume extraction of heparin from porcine intestines.
“The goal of producing biosynthetic heparin is similar to Genentech’s famous breakthrough of creating insulin through recombinant cell-based methods as opposed to relying on extraction from pig pancreas,” said Keith Kleeman, CEO, Optimvia. “We believe that combining Optimvia’s novel technology and Ginkgo’s capabilities will enable commercially viable, cost effective and safe biosynthetic heparin that could eliminate the world’s dependence on livestock sourced heparin entirely.”
Under this partnership, Optimvia seeks to leverage Ginkgo’s cell and enzyme engineering platform, as well as its fermentation process development expertise, to rapidly improve the performance of Optimvia’s biosynthetic heparin manufacturing technology.
“Ginkgo’s platform helps emerging startups develop and optimize their products and reach commercial scale,” said Ginkgo CEO Jason Kelly. “We’re pleased to welcome Optimvia as the newest member in our ecosystem. We believe scalable synthetic heparin could introduce much needed resiliency to the drug supply chain, improve access to this essential medicine, and reduce our dependence on industrial animal agriculture.”
Read the full press release here.