Dr. Gilbert Gorr has been fascinated by the moss Physcomitrella patens for many years – in fact it occupies a great deal of his waking moments. The enthusiasm with which the CSO of greenovation Biotech GmbH talks about the key object of his work is both intoxicating and contagious. After listening to Dr. Gorr expound on his favourite subject, one has a new respect for Physcomitrella patens and its capacities that are the result of intensive research by the greenovation team. The latest discovery: The moss produces a therapeutic antibody that is far more effective than its predecessors created in animal cell cultures.
Gorr and his team had already established a moss line that was able to produce proteins without the need to combine these proteins with fucose residues. “Nevertheless, it was very exciting to find out whether we would be able to improve the 311 antibody,” said the CSO. And the researchers did succeed – at least in the test tube. “If the fucose residues are missing then the antibody’s folding changes,” said Gorr explaining that although the structural difference is minimal the binding between the antibody and the cytotoxic immune cells alters drastically. Comprehensive analyses by the company’s Austrian partner, Vela Laboratories, showed that these alterations improve the lysability of the cancer cells.The optimised antibody, known as 314, will soon enter clinical trials. greenovation will also in future produce the therapeutic, but this will be done in the city of Heilbronn where the company has its new headquarters. The planning of the production facility in Heilbronn is in full swing. In future, it will be possible to produce different therapeutic proteins under GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) conditions. “We will use a method that is truly wonderful to work with. And that is the pleasure of working with Physcomitrella,” explains Gorr.