enGenes and acib to prove efficient site-specific incorporation of non-canonical amino acids into proteins

Recombinant protein specialist manufacturer enGenes Biotech GmbH (enGenes) is undertaking a proof-of-concept project that applies its patented enGenes-X-press technology to the cost-effective site-directed incorporation of non-canonical amino acids into proteins.

enGenes will be working as part of the XPAND project in partnership with the Austrian Centre of Industrial Biotechnology (acib). The project is funded by the Austrian Research Agency (FFG).

Antibody mimetic protein

Already, the partners have successfully achieved site-directed incorporation of non-natural azido-lysin into the model protein GFP and a Her2-directed affibody, an antibody mimetic protein.

The XPAND partners will reach out to companies interested in bio-conjugation to develop this technology further.

Emerging applications

Labelling of proteins with non-canonical amino acids is key to a number of emerging applications, such as fusing proteins with different functionality to generate novel therapeutics or generating more effective antibody-drug-conjugates (ADCs).

“We are very excited about the potential of the enGenes-X-press platform for non-canonical protein labelling. Using the enGenes-X-press platform we see that the incorporation of non-canonical amino acids is more efficient using the enGenes-X-press technology and therefore manufacturing of labelled proteins becomes far more cost-effective,” commented XPAND project leader Dr. Birgit Wiltschi, who is the leader of the Synthetic Biology Group at acib GmbH.

Cutting-edge protein labeling

enGenes CEO Dr. Juergen Mairhofer added: “Our participation in the XPAND project reflects the broad applicability of our technology to different fields of use. Non-canonical amino acids are very expensive, we are talking about 100-500 € per gram. Therefore, improving their incorporation efficiency into recombinant proteins directly safes money and makes this approach for site-specific protein modification more affordable and brings it closer to market. In particular, we can offer site-directed incorporation of non-canonical amino acids by the expansion of the genetic code and thereby enable whole new classes of products, such as single-species protein-drug conjugates,” said Dr. Mairhofer.

About enGenes Biotech

enGenes Biotech GmbH (enGenes) is a contract research, development and manufacturing company that provides cutting-edge technologies and production services focused on recombinant proteins in bacteria. The company’s mission is to provide cost-effective and scalable production of recombinant proteins at a fraction of current cost, allied to a vision of developing a world-class portfolio of cutting-edge protein production technologies, relevant to a broad spectrum of application fields.

enGenes has developed advanced technologies to drive more cost-effective recombinant protein production processes., including its proprietary enGenes-X-press™ E. coli platform that achieves outstanding yields of soluble and active recombinant protein. enGenes-X-press has been successfully applied for the manufacturing of enzymes and biopharmaceutical products that failed to give economically feasible yields in a conventional expression host.

enGenes Biotech offers development and manufacturing services tailored around the needs of pharmaceutical and industrial biotech companies. The services include expression strain and vector development, fermentation process development and optimization, downstream process development, production of purified protein, technology transfer and scale-up support with technology out-licensing and co-development opportunities.

About ACIB GmbH

The Austrian Centre of Industrial Biotechnology (acib GmbH) is an international Research Centre for Industrial Biotechnology. ACIB scientists harness natural mechanisms to replace traditional industrial methods with new, more economic and ecological technologies.

Currently, more than 250 acib researchers are engaged in some 170 research projects at sites in Austria (Vienna, Graz, Innsbruck, Tulln), in Germany (Hamburg, Heidelberg, Bielefeld), Italy (Pavia), Spain (Barcelona), Australia, New Zealand and Taiwan as part of an international network of more than 150 international universities and industry partners, including BASF, DSM, Sandoz, Boehringer Ingelheim RCV, Jungbunzlauer and Validogen.

acib is co-owned by the Universities of Innsbruck and Graz, Graz University of Technology, the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna and Joanneum Research.

The Competence Center is sponsored by BMVIT, BMWFW and the provinces of Styria, Tyrol, Lower Austria and Vienna as part of the COMET program (Austrian Competence Centres for Excellent Technologies) managed by FFG, the Austrian Research Agency.