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Vivalis Opens French Facility for Array-based Antibody Discovery Service

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Vivalis has opened a new facility that will allow it to offer its VivaScreen antibody discovery services to customers in France, the firm said last week.

The new facility is based in the Lyon Gerland Biotechnology Cluster, from which Vivalis can work with resident companies and institutions including Sanofi Pasteur, Merial, and Genzyme, as well as the French Institute for Protein Biology and Chemistry.

VivaScreen is an array-based platform for generating fully human therapeutic antibodies. The process involves isolating B-lymphocytes from donors, and then isolating, activating, and expanding them in order to screen selected antibodies by functional or binding assays. The target B-lymphocytes are then targeted and removed using a single-cell microarray platform and then used to produce fully human monoclonal antibodies.

Vivalis, which also maintains facilities in Nantes, France, and Toyama, Japan, acquired the array-based VivaScreen platform when it acquired Lyon-based Humanys in 2010. Since implementing the array technology into its antibody discovery platform, Vivalis has sought partnerships with companies and institutions that are interested in accessing the approach, and has internally worked on improving the technology, the company said in a statement.

The company said that the new facility will allow it to attract new customers and further develop the platform.

Vivalis was founded in 1999. The company also offers research and commercial licenses for its EB66 cell line, derived from duck embryonic stem cells, to pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies for the production of therapeutic and prophylactic viral vaccines, virosomes, and recombinant proteins.

The firm also performs discovery and development, up to pre-clinical evaluation, of novel small-chemical molecules identified with its 3D-Screen platform. The company also offers as a service custom 3D-Screen assays directed against target proteins of interest.

Vivalis customers include Sanofi Pasteur, GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer Animal Health, and Merck Animal Health. Earlier this month, Vivalis announced an extension of an agreement inked in June 2010 with Sanofi Pasteur in which the vaccines division of Sanofi is using VivaScreen to discover human monoclonal antibodies undisclosed infectious agents.

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