£1.6m for Cambridge centre to improve medicine manufacture

Sensor technology from Cambridge based company Camena Bioscience is being developed into a novel research instrument to improve the efficiency and cost of manufacturing medicines.

The production process needs to be carefully controlled to generate a consistent and high-quality product – image courtesy of Camena Bioscience.

The £1.6m project to develop Camena Bioscience’s revolutionary small molecule detection technology is co-funded by Innovate UK.

Camena, based at Chesterford Research Park as well as Pasadena (California, US), will take the lead on the project collaborating with GSK, The Centre for Process Innovation and Cambridge product design hothouse TTP.

The biologics class of medicines are made by culturing cells rather than traditional chemical synthesis. Cell lines are designed to produce a therapeutic protein, commonly an antibody, and grown to large volumes using defined culture conditions.

The production process needs to be carefully controlled to generate a consistent and high-quality product. To achieve this the growing cell cultures are monitored for the presence of small molecules (metabolites) that indicate if the cells are healthy and receiving the correct levels of nutrients.

Despite the noted advantages of small molecule monitoring, existing technologies only permit the measurement of a few types of small molecules at infrequent points in the process.

Such measurements typically require the use of large, complex and expensive equipment.

Camena Bioscience’s innovative sensor technology aims to transform this process by extending the range of small molecules that can be monitored; measuring different small molecules simultaneously and giving rapid and accurate results.

The technology will also be integrated into an easy to use and compact instrument making it a versatile and powerful tool for research labs around the world.

CEO Steve Harvey said: “CamenaBio is excited to work with our partners and create a breakthrough in small molecule analysis using our innovative sensor technology.

“We believe this ground-breaking technology will empower the global research community and open up a host of new opportunities in small molecule testing.”

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