French biotech DNA Script announces on Wednesday that it has been chosen by GE Research, the R&D division of General Electric, to develop “a mobile platform” dedicated to the rapid manufacture of vaccines and nucleic acid-based therapies, can we? read in the press release. Under this contract, the start-up will receive up to $ 9.35 million.
A project led by DARPA
This agreement is part of the Nucleic Acids On-Demand World-Wide (NOW) program of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the famous United States Department of Defense agency responsible for research projects with technologies peak.
This five-year, $ 41 million program has been awarded to GE Research and aims to develop a platform for manufacturing DNA and / or RNA-based vaccines and drugs in just a few days with the goal of protecting populations. and the armed forces against biological attacks and infectious diseases.
Enzymatic synthesis technology
To carry out this large-scale project, the subsidiary of the American giant wants to surround itself with the most promising young shoots. DNA Script, which has an office in Ile-de-France and California, is at the origin of an enzyme synthesis technology which has been integrated into a kind of molecular printer, called “Synthax”. It is able to develop a personalized DNA sequence thanks to cartridges containing natural enzymes in just a few hours, which is faster than conventional methods.
The use of this method is particularly interesting because it will make it possible to very quickly synthesize high quality nucleic acids which enter into the amplification process developed and industrialized by General Electric. “When it comes to responding to a pandemic or preventing the emergence of more dangerous variants of an existing infectious disease, it is essential to be able to manufacture small batches of ready-to-use vaccines within days.“said Thomas Ybert, CEO of DNA Script.
A contract signed with the Ministry of the Armed Forces
This is the second contract won by DNA Script in just a few months. In fact, at the end of last January, biotech was mandated by the Defense Innovation Agency of the French Ministry of the Armed Forces to develop “a laboratory prototype” for the rapid detection and diagnosis of pathogens, in connection with the Covid-19 pandemic. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.