The 175 square metre state-of-the-art facility will be among one of the largest GMO2 laboratories in Scandinavia and Northern Europe and strengthens SNIPR Biome’s R&D and clinical activities.
The lab has the capacity to handle clinical samples from the phase 1 clinical trial of E.coli therapy (SNIPR001) and will enable expansion of the company’s CRISPR and microbiome portfolio.
The decision to locate the facility in Copenhagen was a strategic choice to give the company a competitive edge and take advantage of local skilled researchers as well as attract new talent, according to SNIPR Biome Co-founder & CEO, Dr Christian Grøndahl.
He comments: “Competition for talent is global and therefore it requires ongoing political focus and investments if Denmark is to become the natural choice for conducting research and clinical activities in the future.
“The Danish life science environment is incredibly strong. This provides excellent growth conditions for a company like us, and we hope that some of these researchers will become members of the SNIPR Biome family.”
The Danish Work Environment Authority has designated the laboratory a biosafety level 2 (BSL2/GMO2) classification, which allows researchers to work with pathogenic bacteria that are treatable and not airborne.
The automated high-throughput facility incorporates the latest liquid-handling robots and chambers dedicated to anaerobic work. This approach enables large-scale screening and testing of therapies on potentially pathogenic bacteria and generates ‘big data’ for AI and machine learning.
Chief Medical Officer and Head of R&D at SNIPR Biome, Dr Milan Zdravkovic, explains: “The expansion of our laboratory capacity allows us to automate R&D processes and enables us to explore new research areas in house, and importantly speeding up analysis of samples from clinical trials."
The extra lab capacity combined with SNIPR Biome’s recent Fast Track designation from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will help facilitate phase 1 clinical trials for SNIPR Biome’s E.coli treatment.
The Fast Track designation facilitates the development and expedites the review of potential therapies to treat serious conditions where there is no treatment available.
SNIPR001 is being developed in partnership with the non-profit organisation CARB-X and targets E.coli in patients with haematological malignancy who are at risk of neutropenia (lower white blood cell count).
Dr Grøndahl says: “E. coli was recently highlighted as one of the leading pathogens associated with anti-microbial-resistance and death in a systematic review published by the scientific journal The Lancet, so there is an urgent need for new medicines targeting E. coli”.
SNIPR001 harnesses a novel approach using SNIPR Biome’s proprietary CRISPR/Cas technology and could transform the treatment for E. coli infections and accelerate the development of preventative treatment.
The precision therapy is designed to locate E.coli bacteria in the gut and prevent it from entering the bloodstream, while leaving commensal bacteria in the patient’s microbiome. There are currently no approved prophylactic therapies for this condition.