Viruses and viral vectors represent a new class of therapy that has enormous potential to treat or even cure diseases such as genetic defects or cancer that were previously inadequate or untreatable. Viruses are complex biopharmaceuticals whose properties are fundamentally different from conventional drugs. In order to make them more clinically availableility, developments for their efficient biotechnological production are required.
Platform technology oncolytic viruses
Such a therapeutic virus was established in the innovation field of virus-based technologies at the Fraunhofer IGB through genetic engineering in order to establish a platform technology for oncolytic virotherapy. This patent-pending technology is now ready for modular functionalization for a combined virus-immunotherapy of tumors. In the “TheraVision” project coordinated by Prof. Bailer (IGB) and further involving the Fraunhofer Iinstitutes IZI, ITEM, ISC, and ITWM, functionalized viruses were developed on the basis of this platform technology. The resulting viruses were demonstrated to be safe and to destroy tumor cells of the non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC) in a targeted manner while delivering a potent therapeutic cargo to tumor cells.
Determination of virus activity in real time
A strong trend in the development and application of virus-based therapies for cell, gene and virotherapy can be observed worldwide. The first applied virus products convince with high effectiveness and tolerability, the increasing number of clinical studies makes it likely that further viral therapies will be approved. In order to cover future requirements of viral therapeutics and thus, accelerate their translation into clinical usage, digitized and automated processes are needed to increase the yield of high-quality virus and thus reduce the costs per dose.
The EU project BioProS that started in 2022 under the coordination of the Fraunhofer IPA, therefore aims to develop a continuous and real-time capable sensor technology for the detection of virus activity and to combine this as a platform technology with other analytes. Several disciplines (virology, engineering, data science, manufacturing experts) combine their skills to transform the production process of viruses and provide virus products that meet the highest quality requirements.
Aim: pPersonalized production
The combination of optical sensor technology and cell- as well as affinity-based measurement techniques enables bio-hybrid monitoring of viral infection cycles at real-time during production.
The bio-intelligent production of the viruses enables personalized production, which is used by various partners in the form of a platform technology and ensures a sustainable and robust production process through new quality control strategies.