The Ocular BioFactoryTM
Avalanche's Ocular BioFactory platform is designed to treat the cause of ophthalmic diseases by enabling patients' own cells to express a therapeutic protein for a sustained period of time. We use an adeno-associated virus (AAV) as a vector to deliver and express, or transduce, a functional gene to the cells of the eye to promote continuous protein production. Although AAVs are widely used for gene therapy due to their safety, stability and sustained protein expression, our Ocular BioFactory platform has distinct characteristics that provide advantages over competing gene therapy technologies using AAVs as well as other viral and non-viral vectors.
Our Ocular BioFactory platform features two key proprietary components: a novel vector screening and optimization system referred to as directed evolution, and an industrialized manufacturing process. Through directed evolution, we generate a diverse library of millions of AAV variants and subsequently screen the variants in multiple in vitro and in vivo tests to identify the optimal variant for a specific disease. Our directed evolution technology allows us to create proprietary vectors and optimize them to target cells in different layers of the retina. Each of these cell layers constitutes a potential therapeutic target for currently unmet medical needs, providing us with multiple opportunities to apply our directed evolution technology. Our industrialized manufacturing process, based on our proprietary baculovirus expression system, is highly efficient and scalable. Production yields are up to one hundred times greater than those obtained using conventional AAV production systems. Therefore, we are able to manufacture commercial grade production for large markets such as wet AMD.