RARE Daily

Virica Enters Collaboration with the Government of Canada

May 2, 2022

Virica Biotech said it has received $400,000 from Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) through the Innovative Solutions Canada (ISC) program to support the company’s collaboration with the National Research Council of Canada’s Cell and Gene Therapy Challenge program to enhance the manufacturing of an affordable version of AAV-LPL, a gene therapy being developed for people with debilitating lipoprotein lipase deficiency.

Lipoprotein lipase deficiency (LPLD) is a rare, inherited disease for which no treatment exists. People with LPLD have a faulty gene and are unable to breakdown fat particles carried in their blood. The accumulation of fat turns their blood white and leads to recurring and potentially fatal pancreatitis attacks. LPLD affects about two people out of 1 million, but in the Saguenay region of Quebec, as many as one in 50 people carry the gene mutation.

NRC researchers are re-engineering AAV-LPL using new adeno-associated viral derived vectors to advance the lipoprotein lipase deficiency gene therapy originally developed at the University of British Columbia. AAV vectors are the delivery vehicle of choice for inserting therapeutic genes into cells but increasing production yields of these biopharmaceuticals in sufficient quantities to meet demand is challenging.

Virica is deploying its custom VSE formulation, in collaboration with the NRC, to design a more robust AAV vector manufacturing process. The VSE formulation is tailor-made to optimize the scalability of the NRC’s AAV manufacturing process and produce the next-generation gene therapy for LPLD.

“The NRC offers Canadian businesses access to unique expertise in this area, as well as outstanding research and manufacturing facilities,” Jean-Simon Diallo, CEO of Virica Biotech. “It will be exciting to see the NRC use our VSEs to produce higher yields of their AAV vectors and ultimately contribute to lowering the cost of a life-saving gene therapy for people with LPLD.”

Author: Rare Daily Staff

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