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Lucigen Corporation and Research Corporation Technologies Announce Partnership

Published: Thursday, May 02, 2013
Last Updated: Thursday, May 02, 2013
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Partnership to commercialize and distribute the CleanColi™ Expression System, the first Escherichia coli (E. coli)-based recombinant system that lacks unwanted endotoxin.

Lucigen will produce and sell kits containing CleanColi™ competent cells and provide contract research services for the CleanColi™ Expression System. Lucigen simultaneously announces the release of a CleanColi™ competent cell line enabling the production of proteins virtually free of endotoxin contamination, thereby minimizing purification and allowing faster and more accurate screening of biological targets for drug discovery research. Under the partnership, RCT will be responsible for the CleanColi™ commercial licensing programs.

Drug discovery researchers are increasingly turning to biologics as the source for new therapeutics, utilizing the incredible diversity of proteins in order to find new treatments for disease. To synthesize and manipulate these proteins, researchers normally insert genes coding for the desired protein into mammalian, yeast, or bacterial cells. The common bacteria E. coli is a widely used system for expression of recombinant proteins, but this method has the disadvantage that, without time-consuming and expensive cleanup, it produces contaminating endotoxin that kills human cells. Failure to remove endotoxin from the final product can result in false or misleading results, potentially causing a researcher to improperly reject a promising drug candidate.

Lucigen and RCT have developed the CleanColi™ competent cell strain for protein expression. This new strain has a genetically modified lipopolysaccharide (LPS) that does not cause an endotoxic response in human cells. By producing proteins without contaminating endotoxin, researchers can increase productivity by reducing the time, cost, and loss of product associated with endotoxin removal. More important, cell-based assays can be performed without concern that LPS (endotoxin) contamination could be masking promising results. Researchers can accelerate drug discovery research and ensure the most accurate results possible. Additional cell lines for plasmid production and phage display are also planned for release, creating a complete system for scientists to study a large variety of biologic compounds for therapeutic applications.

“E. coli is commonly used for research scale protein expression but its ease of use has been limited by unwanted endotoxin contamination. These days are hopefully over. RCT and their collaborators have developed technology allowing for the creation of the first viable E.coli strains lacking endotoxin in the membrane. The CleanColi™ cell lines will accelerate how researchers screen novel compounds for drug discovery. By eliminating the source of endotoxin, scientists can increase the number of compounds screened and more accurately pinpoint candidates for further testing. We are proud to work with RCT to introduce this truly novel system to the world,” states David Mead, Ph.D., Lucigen founder and CEO.

“Lucigen is the ideal partner to launch the CleanColi™ Expression System. They have established themselves as the clear market leader for high efficiency competent cells. We are looking forward to working with them and future licensees of the CleanColi™ Expression System to bring this valuable tool to commercial research and recombinant protein production,” said Chad Souvignier, Ph.D., Managing Director at RCT.

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