Our first time in attendance at the prestigious biennial Cell Culture and Engineering conference, Palms Springs, May 2016 was a great experience.
Whilst on face value the conference appeared to be like most we frequent, it was in fact, quite unique in that the entire program including the onsite accommodation, breakfast, lunch, dinner and session breaks, interactive workshops and drinks during the poster sessions were all specifically geared to enhance and encouraging everyone’s networking opportunities. The friendly, collaborative ethos held by attendees was clear to see and in a survey held during one of the workshops rated ‘networking’ the number 1 answer of ‘What you liked about CCE XV’. We were able to meet contemporaries from all walks of the Cell Line Development and Process Engineering life which really shows the conference’s broad, yet specialised reach.
The conference was an intense week of back to back informative talks presented by industry and academia throughout the entire process of Cell Line Development and Engineering for the production of therapeutic proteins.
The event was sponsored by a total of 48 companies, including ourselves, and over the entire week there was a total of 50 talks organised into 10 topical sessions ranging from ‘Cell Line Development Advances’ to ‘Quality by Design and Scale-down Model Qualification’. There were 190 posters presented; with extra poster highlights presented throughout the topical sessions, 4 key note talks with an additional presentation from the Sinacore Award Winner; awarded in acknowledgment of this year’s most outstanding young investigator, 3 workshop sessions covering 9 different themes for open discussion and 392 participants in attendance.
Solentim presented a poster at the Conference on “Proof that can travel – documented clonality report for regulatory submission” and this can be viewed and downloaded on the Cell Metric Community.
Although there were too many sessions to summarise, there were two sessions of note for us which may resonate with many of our customers;
The ‘Cell Line development advances’ session discussed various novel molecular techniques for host cell genome editing such as targeted gene integration and CRISPR/Cas 9 tools for the ‘reprogramming’ of host cell lines to make them more efficient at producing higher titre, consistent quality product whilst ensuring the speed at which new cell lines are produced is not hindered.
The ‘Current Concerns and Emerging Trends in Cell Culture Bioprocessing’ session highlighted that amongst the general cell line development consortium there are always challenges to face as well as new technologies to discuss and collaborate on. This session presented 4 topics that were said to have appeared in differing popularity over the years which were next-generation sequencing, host cell line resistance to viruses, production cell line clonality and the role that host cell proteins have to play in the therapeutic production.
The keynote talks highlighted the fact that all of the efforts and innovations in cell line development and engineering come back to the important end gain of better patient treatment. The various presentations touched on how remarkable advances have been made in the field by the increased understanding the human immune response to disease, CHO industrialisation and monoclonal antibody/ biosimilar production, yet there is still a wealth of knowledge to explore. As biotherapeutic production stands today, the cost is too high and prohibitive for global access. To continue the innovation over the coming decades, gaining future advances in this field will not only depend on next generation technology such as T cell therapy but also the physician’s acceptance of prescribing these drugs in everyday use.