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Synthetic Genomics, Venter Institute Form Vaccines Firm

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Synthetic Genomics and the non-profit J. Craig Venter Institute today announced that they have formed a new company, called Synthetic Genomics Vaccines, focused on genomic-based vaccines.

The partners, both based in La Jolla, Calif., and co-founded by Craig Venter, said they will develop next-generation vaccines using JCVI's genomic sequencing and synthetic genomic research expertise.

They also announced today a three-year deal with Novartis to use synthetic genomics technologies to accelerate the production of influenza seed strains required for vaccine manufacturing. The collaboration is supported by an award from the US Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, though the partners did not disclose the amount of the award.

Under the collaboration, Novartis and SGVI aim to develop a "bank" of synthetically constructed seed viruses ready to go into production as soon as WHO identifies the flu strains. They hope the technology will reduce vaccine production time by up to two months.

JCVI and Novartis have worked together over the past decade to apply genomics research findings to vaccine development. They said that the latest collaboration introduced the use of genomics in vaccine research, a technology called "reverse vaccinology."

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