U project to advance development of genomic tools for cell-line research

The Society for Biological Engineering (SBE) has formed a consortium of leading pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies that will provide up to $2 million to the University of Minnesota and the Bioprocessing Technology Institute in Singapore to advance cell-line research for biological drug development.

Distinguished McKnight University Professor Wei-Shou Hu, Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, is one of two principal investigators on the project, which will further the development of genomic research tools for Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cell lines.

“CHO cells are used to produce about 70 percent of all pharmaceutically important recombinant DNA proteins, so it will be very beneficial to learn more about their biology at molecular levels using the genomic tools,” said Hu.

The work is considered especially significant to facilitating the use of CHO cells for drug discovery and increasing production efficiencies of diagnostics and medicines for fighting certain cancers, controlling bleeding disorders, treating central nervous system diseases, and boosting blood-cell production.

Founded two years ago by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, SBE is a technological community for engineers and applied scientists who integrate biology with engineering.