Dr. Jean-Simon Diallo, Virica’s Scientific Founder & CEO, attended and presented on the topic “Overcoming barriers in viral vector manufacturing: Small molecule targeting of antiviral defenses” at the recent Cell Culture Engineering conference. Key takeaways noted for Dr. Jean-Simon Diallo were: 

What was surprising: 

Several talks made mention of antiviral defenses as an impediment to manufacturing which was a first for me. I was surprised to hear that companies essentially reproduced very similar data to the Pfizer team (LINK) and are also showing differences between HEK293 clones with respect to how much induction of antiviral defenses there is.   

Key Areas for advancement:  

Deepening analytics, looking at more than full-empty particle ratios to better understand critical quality attributes. AAV seems to produce a range of aberrant “full particles” that don’t have the Gene of Interest. Plasmid ratio optimization is something that seems to impact full-empty ratios and can be further explored. 

Manufacturing Challenges: 

An issue that is consistently brought up is that one optimized process doesn’t generally apply to another.  Also, some process variables that apply at large scale are difficult to model at small scale. 

Questions people had about Virica’s viral sensitizer platform? 

Questions revolved around impact on cost, time of addition in relation to antiviral defense signatures, and general curiosity around what the molecules are and what they target.