Momenta Pharmaceuticals Announces Nature Biotechnology Publication Demonstrating CHO Cells Can Produce Galactose-Alpha-1,3-Galactose Antigens on Proteins

/ Source: GlobeNewswire

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Nov. 8, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Momenta Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq:MNTA), a biotechnology company specializing in the characterization and engineering of complex mixture drugs, today announced that the scientific journal Nature Biotechnology has published a correspondence entitled "Chinese Hamster Ovary Cells Can Produce Galactose-alpha-1,3-Galactose Antigens on Proteins." The studies, led by scientists at Momenta Pharmaceuticals, demonstrate that Chinese Hamster Ovary (CHO) cells contain the active biosynthetic machinery to produce alpha-Gal antigens and that a therapeutic protein manufactured in CHO contains alpha-Gal. Prior to these findings, it was believed that CHO cells lacked the biosynthetic machinery necessary to synthesize glycoproteins with these carbohydrate antigens. 

CHO cells are widely used for the manufacture of biotherapeutics, in part because of their ability to produce proteins with desirable properties, including "human like" glycosylation profiles. Control of glycosylation is critical when developing biotherapeutics because it can affect protein function including half-life and efficacy. Additionally, specific glycan structures may adversely affect their safety profile. Although the specific levels of alpha-Gal required to trigger allergic reactions such as anaphylaxis are not known and are likely to be product specific, the fact that humans contain high levels of circulating anti-alpha-gal antibodies suggests that controlling the levels of these epitopes during biotherapeutics development may be beneficial to patients.

"We believe that using tools developed at Momenta, it is now possible to monitor and control for the presence of alpha-Gal antigens during protein therapeutics development," commented Ganesh Venkataraman, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer at Momenta. "These results are good examples of the potential applications of our technologies to advance product and process understanding to improve the engineering of both biosimilars and novel biologics."

About Momenta

Momenta Pharmaceuticals is a biotechnology company, headquartered in Cambridge, MA, specializing in the detailed structural analysis of complex mixture drugs. Momenta is applying its technology to the development of generic versions of complex drug products, as well as to the discovery and development of novel drugs.

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CONTACT: Momenta Pharmaceuticals Beverly Holley, Director, Investor Relations (617) 395-5189