Johnson Matthey (LSE: JMAT), a global leader in science that enables cleaner air, improved health and more efficient use of natural resources and Intrexon Corporation (NYSE: XON), a leader in the engineering and industrialisation of biology are pleased to announce that they have entered into an exclusive collaboration to focus on the development of fermentation processes to produce peptide-based active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs).

Peptide-based APIs are used as highly effective treatments in numerous therapeutic classes. However due to their structural complexity, peptides are costly and difficult to produce, requiring specialised equipment and reagents and lengthy synthetic sequences with low chemical yields. To address this, Intrexon will focus on strain generation, utilising its proprietary microbial hosts, initial fermentation and downstream isolation and purification. Subsequently, Johnson Matthey (JM) will be responsible for product scale-up and commercialisation, ultimately developing much more efficient and effective processes for peptide-based drugs.

“Peptides are an important class of therapeutic agents and JM is pleased to be collaborating with the Intrexon team in using their innovative biologically-based technologies to access these technically challenging APIs,” commented Robert MacLeod, Chief Executive of JM. “Through their strain engineering capabilities, we believe there is significant potential for more efficient production of these important compounds.”

“As a leading provider of complex APIs and pharmaceutical services, JM is an ideal partner for this programme,” said Randal J. Kirk, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Intrexon. “Their expertise and capacity, combined with Intrexon’s powerful platform for the identification, design and engineering of production cells, should provide significant potential for more efficient production of such high-cost active ingredients.”