In the continued absence of an effective anti-HIV vaccine, approximately 2 million new HIV infections occur every year, with over 95% of these in developing countries. Calls have been made for the development of anti-HIV drugs that can be formulated for topical use to prevent HIV transmission during sexual intercourse. Because these drugs are principally destined for use in low-resource regions, achieving production costs that are as low as possible is an absolute requirement. 5P12-RANTES, an analog of the human chemokine protein RANTES/CCL5, is a highly potent HIV entry inhibitor which acts by achieving potent blockade of the principal HIV coreceptor, CCR5. Here we describe the development and optimization of a scalable low-cost production process for 5P12-RANTES based on expression in Pichia pastoris. At pilot (150 L) scale, this cGMP compliant process yielded 30 g of clinical grade 5P12-RANTES. As well as providing sufficient material for the first stage of clinical development, this process represents an important step towards achieving production of 5P12-RANTES at a cost and scale appropriate to meet needs for topical HIV prevention worldwide.
Keywords: 5P12-RANTES; Biopharmaceutical; CCR5; Chemokine; HIV; Microbicide; Pichia; Process development; Yeast; cGMP.
Copyright © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.