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Servier and Cellectis sign cell engineering agreement

Cellectis signs an agreement with Servier on the engineering of industrial cell lines for use in pharmaceutical R&D programmes

Cellectis, a French rational genome engineering company, has signed an agreement with Laboratoires Servier on the engineering of industrial cell lines for use in pharmaceutical R&D programmes.

The agreement covers Servier's use of Cellectis'10 cell platform and meganuclease recombination system (MRS) for enabling the targeted and reproducible insertion of genes of interest in this cell line.

The cell platform will allow Servier to derive consistent ranges of distinct yet closely comparable cell lines for direct use in its industrial processes in a reproducible and rational way.

Financial terms were not disclosed at the time of writing. The Servier agreement is part of Cellectis' efforts to deploy its proprietary meganuclease technology in this field and is also in direct line with its strategy.

The 10 cell platform is based on the CHO K1 line cell. Cellectis engineered it and made it programmable so that target genes for drugs will always insert at the same genomic location through meganuclease-mediated recombination. The resulting cells only differ with respect to the inserted gene and thus serve as novel industrial tools for studying drug targets and screening drug candidates.

Meganucleases are a proprietary genome engineering technology developed by Cellectis, which enables the high-precision rewriting of genetic sequences. The high degree of specificity means that the meganuclease binds to and cuts at a single, predefined site in a given genome, avoiding the imprecision associated with most other methods of DNA modification, such as transgenesis.

Emmanuel Canet, president for R&D at Servier, said of the tie-up: "We are very pleased to implement this collaboration with Cellectis. It will enable us to access an innovative genome engineering technology and thus boost our ability to discover novel drug candidates. This agreement demonstrates our will to reinforce our corporate resources in the biotech sector."

30th September 2008

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