Oligonucleotide Boom: Agilent Acquires Manufacturer SynPro; Dalton Completes CGMP Facility

April 27, 2006
Pharmaceutical Technology Editors

Agilent Technologies Inc. (Palo Alto, CA, www.agilent.com) announced April 17 that it acquired SynPro Corp. (Boulder, CO), a contract manufacturer of oligonucleotide active pharmaceutical ingredients. Earlier, Dalton Pharma Services (Toronto), announced that it had completed a multi-gram CGMP oligonucleotide production facility.

Agilent Technologies Inc. (Palo Alto, CA, www.agilent.com) announced April 17 that it acquired SynPro Corp. (Boulder, CO), a contract manufacturer of oligonucleotide active pharmaceutical ingredients and a provider related services. SynPro is privately held and financial details were not disclosed.

"Agilent has identified RNA synthesis as an excellent growth opportunity," said Agilent vice-president John Eaton, is a prepared statement. "Acquiring SynPro is a strategic move for us. We are gaining first-rate manufacturing capabilities and deep expertise that will open the door for Agilent to an exciting new market."

Agilent estimates that the RNA-and-DNA synthesis market will grow at 10–20% per year from its 2006 volume of $700 million.

Dalton Pharma Services completes CGMP oligonucleotide manufacturing facility

Earlier in April, Dalton Pharma Services (Toronto, ON, Canada, www.dalton.com), a privately owned contract services provider, announced that it completed its own CGMP oligonucleotide production facility capable of making multigram quantities of RNA and DNA for therapeutic and diagnostic applications.

In a prepared statement, Dalton CEO Peter Pekos noted that “Building on our 17-year history in oligonucleotide manufacture and analysis, Dalton can now use its expertise in synthesis and manufacturing of antisense oligonucleotides and their analogs to produce CGMP grade oligonucleotides as required for human clinical testing . . . Combining GMP synthesis of oligonucleotides and sterile fill puts us at the forefront of providing drug development solutions that accelerate our client's discovery, pre-clinical and clinical programs.”

Available equipment includes four AKTA OligoPilots, each capable of producing from 500 micromoles to 50 g of oligonucleotide per run, and Waters preparative high-performance liquid chromatography using either reverse-phase or ion-exchange chromatographic techniques.

Oligonucleotide boom

Also this month, Alnylam Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Cambridge, MA, www.alnylam.com) signed a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) to develop RNAi therapeutics to target viruses, including those that cause hemorrhagic fevers. This came on the heels of the announcement (reported in ePT) that Alnylam and Novartis would team up to develop therapeutics for potential pandemic influenzas. Also in April, ePT reported that GlaxoSmithKline (GSK, London, England, www.gsk.com) and Sirna Therapeutics Inc. (San Francisco, CA, www.sirna.com) announced a potential $700-million alliance in developing RNAi-based therapeutics for respiratory disease.

Further underlining the current activity in oligonucleotide development, Sigma-Aldrich (St. Louis, MO, www.sigmaaldrich.com) announced April 24 that it established an RNAi Partnership Program with select academic institutions to advance functional genomics research. The charter collaboration is with the Bionomics Research and Technologies Core (BRTC), a collaboration between the Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute and the Department of Genetics at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.

Under the program, researchers at participating institutions will have early access to new technologies developed through Sigma-Aldrich's collaborations with The RNAi Consortium (an alliance of academic researchers), Oxford BioMedica, and Benitec.

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