Oxford Biomedica, Microsoft Announce R&D Collaboration

March 12, 2019
Pharmaceutical Technology Editors

The companies will join forces to improve gene- and cell-therapy manufacturing using the cloud and machine learning.

On March 12, 2019, Oxford Biomedica, a provider of gene and cell therapies, announced that it has entered into a R&D collaboration with Microsoft Research to improve the yield and quality of next-generation gene therapy vectors using the cloud and machine learning.

The collaboration will combine the expertise of Oxford Biomedica researchers in vector development and large-scale manufacture and the team within Microsoft’s Station B initiative to explore new ways to increase the yield and improve the purity of Oxford Biomedica’s lentiviral vectors. Oxford Biomedica will contribute large data sets for analysis via the Microsoft Azure intelligent cloud platform. Microsoft, in collaboration with Oxford Biomedica scientists, will use its cloud computing and machine learning capabilities to develop in-silico models and novel algorithms to help advance next-generation cell- and gene-delivery technology. The collaboration will run for an initial two-year period and may be extended by either party, Oxford Biomedica reports.

“Our LentiVector gene-delivery platform is recognized as a leading solution by major industry players, but developing next-generation manufacturing technologies is complex and often involves uncertain outcomes,” said Jason Slingsby, chief business officer of Oxford Biomedica, in a company press release. “The collaboration with Microsoft Research will harness our rich data resources to offer greater insights into the biological processes required to enhance quality and optimize yields of lentiviral vectors. It builds on our digital framework initiative, established in 2018, and the work underway in our collaboration with Synthace to rapidly and flexibly design, simulate, and execute complex experimental designs to develop next-generation manufacturing processes, including with stable producer cell lines for lentiviral vectors.”

“Programming biology has the potential to solve some of the world’s toughest problems in medicine and to lay the foundations for a future bioeconomy based on sustainable technology,” said Andrew Phillips, head of Biological Computation at Microsoft, in the release. “Oxford Biomedica is at the cutting edge of cell- and gene-therapy delivery and their highly sophisticated manufacturing processes generate a vast wealth of valuable data. We anticipate that by combining computational modelling, lab automation, machine learning, and the power of the cloud, we can help them in their quest to make existing treatments more cost effective and, in [the] future, to develop groundbreaking new treatments.

Source: Oxford Biomedica