SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 17, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- rBIO, an early-stage synthetic biology company focused on reducing the cost of prescription drugs, has announced its first in-lab milestone: synthetic production of human insulin. With its genetic coding platform and process now proven, the company is now poised to upscale production of insulin and to identify other prescription drugs that can be manufactured using rBIO's method for synthetically 'coding' microorganisms.
rBIO's approach applies recent breakthroughs in genetics and recombinant DNA science to design new strains of synthetic life capable of expressing a wide variety of peptide hormones.
"We targeted insulin for our initial model because it checks two boxes: first, it's a specialty drug that is priced too high for many people who depend on it, and second its supply chain is vulnerable," said Cameron Owen, founder and CEO of rBIO. "Our goal is to re-shore insulin manufacturing to the USA and make this crucial hormone available at a lower cost for the millions of Americans suffering from diabetes."
With lab-scale production of human insulin achieved, the next step is to increase insulin yields prior to seeking FDA approval. Looking ahead, rBIO has developed a shortlist of eight drugs that can be synthesized with this unique coding approach. "Our results with insulin clearly demonstrate that our technology works, so we're looking to apply this approach for epinephrine and erythropoietin, among others," added Owen.
"A wide array of biological products can be synthesized with this approach," said Dr. Debanjan Dhar, professor of medicine at University of California, San Diego. "Single-celled organisms like yeast, bacteria, and algae can be exploited to drive the next manufacturing boom of biological products needed to meet patient demand for crucial drugs."
Pharmaceuticals are a major concern for national security, an issue that has received heightened prominence during the current COVID-19 pandemic. According to the FDA, 1,079 facilities worldwide produce the 370 drugs marketed in the US that are on the World Health Organization's Essential Medicines List. However, just 21 percent of those facilities are based in the United States.
rBIO is a biotech startup focused on applying recombinant DNA science to reduce the cost of prescription drugs. The company was formed by a team from Johns Hopkins Carey Business School and a team of scientists whose backgrounds include genetics, bioengineering, and bioinformatics. Based in San Francisco, rBIO is privately funded. For more information, visit https://www.rbio.online/.
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SOURCE rBIO, Co.