The Billion Dollar CHO: Cells with mysteries for ton-quantity production of biopharmaceuticals

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Prof. Florian M. Wurm: The Billion Dollar CHO: Cells with mysteries for ton-quantity production of biopharmaceuticals

  • Datum: 15.02.2018
  • Uhrzeit: 10:30 - 11:30
  • Ort: Max-Planck-Institut Magdeburg
  • Raum: Großer Seminarraum "Prigogine"
  • Kontakt:


After more than 30 years since its first use, mammalian cell culture-based manufacturing of recombinant therapeutic proteins, especially with CHO cells, appears to be a mature technology. However, a general awareness of continuing and never stoppable trends towards genetic and phenotypic changes in these cell populations has emerged more recently, also based on insights gained through next generation sequencing of these cells.
The seminar will summarise decades of insights gained with this unique cell host whose origin go back into the “dark - age” of pre-internet science of the 50s and 60s. The enormous adaptability of cells in terms of growth and productivity will be highlighted and examples will be given that make their favourable use for pharmaceutical production understandable and obvious. This discussion will cover, besides the underlying biology, the environmental drivers for selection, life and death, when exposing cell population into the constraints of stirred or otherwise mixed containers from the millilitre scale to the 20 cubic-meter scale of operation.

Short CV

Florian Wurm is a geneticist by training (Uni Giessen), having worked in pharma (Behringwerke Marburg) and in the DNA based Biotech Industry (Genentech) for the first 15 years of his career. Having contributed to pioneering recombinant pharmaceuticals (HERCEPTIN®, PULMOZYME®, AIDSVAX®, ACTIVASE® and TENECTEPLASE™), from DNA to manufacturing process in California, he then entered academia for 20 years in Lausanne, where he continued to study CHO cells and their use for manufacturing bottlenecks. He started ExcellGene as a Spin-off from his laboratory in 2001.

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