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R&D Recombinant Protein Research

The R&D Recombinant Protein Research unit focuses on developing human cell line-based recombinant biopharmaceuticals.


The unit has developed extensive experience in recombinant protein research and development, for example in blood clotting factors and growth factors expressed by a human embryonic kidney (HEK) 293F cell line.


High-Throughput Screening Technology (HTS) for optimised human cell clone selection has achieved a significant increase in efficiency and productivity of human cell clones expressing the desired recombinant protein product. Appropriate treatment of individual cell clones is ensured by our experienced staff using sophisticated technology tools in fermentation, purification and analytics.


Octapharma Biopharmaceuticals GmbH currently has several human cell-line derived recombinant products at different stages in the research pipeline. One of them is G-CSF (Granulocyte colony-stimulating factor) from the HEK293F cell-line. G-CSF is a glycoprotein hormone, which stimulates the bone marrow to produce and release granulocytes and stem cells into the circulation. Current G-CSF products are all recombinant and manufactured in bacteria (E. coli) or hamster (CHO) cell-lines, whereas our G-CSF will be the first human cell-line derived product. Established G-CSF indications are the reduction of the duration and incidence of neutropenia and infections in cancer patients receiving chemotherapy.


Furthermore, the unit is working on several half-life prolongation approaches for its own proteins in order to increase quality of life for patients. Fresenius Kabi and Octapharma Group entered 2009 into an Exclusive License, Development and Supply Agreement to develop a HESylated recombinant protein product. These combined technologies are intended to generate a therapeutic protein with a superior product profile in respect of half-life prolongation. 


Octapharma’s R&D Recombinant Proteins Research unit is based at Octapharma Biopharmaceuticals GmbH, a subsidiary of the Octapharma Group founded in 1997.


Octapharma Biopharmaceuticals GmbH is situated in the Neuenheimer Feld in Heidelberg, where the Octapharma Group has invested €25 million for the construction of a new scientific building complex. The new premises are in the vicinity of the Heidelberg Technology Park, close to scientific institutes such as the Ruprecht-Karls-University, the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and the German Cancer Research Center.