Bjarke Bak Christensen. Foto Mikal Schlosser

Faster biological drug development needed

Monday 01 Mar 21
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Bjarke Bak Christensen
Head of Department
DTU Bioengineering
+45 30 66 42 33
New research unit to help companies identify and develop new drug candidates

The faster development of biological drugs and treatments. This is one of the goals of DTU’s new unit for conducting research into Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells—the National Biologics Facility (NBF). The research environment is based on a research group at the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability (CFB), which in just eight years has become an international leader within the development of CHO cell lines for producing proteins for new biological drugs. 

I’m proud that DTU is up with the best worldwide within CHO cell line engineering. The competences that NBF represents must now make a difference in small and medium-sized enterprises, which will be able to draw on our services in their work with identifying and developing new drug candidates.

"Research and know-how within CHO cell line engineering and protein production can help to strengthen biopharma production as a whole in Denmark."
Bjarke Bak Christensen

As a technical university, DTU’s service will primarily involve helping to identify which proteins companies should focus on. NBF can provide services to companies engaged in the preclinical part, and we are encouraging small and medium-sized companies in particular to work together if they need to focus and establish their activities quickly and accurately.

I’m convinced that NBF’s research and know-how within CHO cell line engineering and protein production can help to strengthen biopharma production as a whole in Denmark. By using our services, companies can more easily access the cell lines and proteins they need, and have them developed so they are relevant for the market in which they operate. Thus, it will not be necessary for them to devote as many resources to experimental setups and research when they can link up with DTU Bioengineering’s R&D. 

From DTU’s point of view, it is also wonderful that NBF is making it possible to establish new study programmes within CHO cell line engineering, and in the longer term also new research collaborations, PhDs and postdocs.NBF finally establishes DTU Bioengineering as a department that focuses on biotechnology, biomedicine, and engineering.  We have lacked the same kind of focus on the genetic engineering of mammalian cells, in this context CHO cells, as we have seen with the engineering of fungi, plants, and bacteria, which we have been working with now for many years.

Bjarke Bak Christensen
Head of Department, DTU Bioengineering

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