DoD examines 12-week flu vax process

Four Defense Department-funded collaborators have demonstrated swine flu vaccine production within 12 weeks of receiving an unknown target amino acid sequence.

The team developed a bioprocess system based on the Pfenex Expression Technology running on the Xcellerex single-use FlexFactory production platform. The successful demonstration follows two project phases that spanned two years. During those phases, team members developed the high-efficiency bacterial expression system in conjunction with the FlexFactory platform to grow production strains to high cell densities and to purify model vaccine and antibody molecules.

The demo showed that the collaborators could develop a strain and bioprocess, and fully characterize the purified product, in less than six weeks. Scaled to manufacturing, they estimate the cost of the vaccine at less than $0.50/dose.

The $19 million effort was funded by both the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency's Transformational Medical Technologies Initiative.

Analytical capabilities for the project were provided by deltaDOT; systems integration and process economic analyses were provided by BioPharm Services.

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