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author:("laurens, Bram")
1.  A scalable low-cost cGMP process for clinical grade production of the HIV inhibitor 5P12-RANTES in Pichia pastoris 
In the continued absence of an effective anti-HIV vaccine, approximately 2 million new HIV infections occur every year, with over 95% of these in developing countries. Calls have been made for the development of anti-HIV drugs that can be formulated for topical use to prevent HIV transmission during sexual intercourse. Because these drugs are principally destined for use in low-resource regions, achieving production costs that are as low as possible is an absolute requirement. 5P12-RANTES, an analog of the human chemokine protein RANTES/CCL5, is a highly potent HIV entry inhibitor which acts by achieving potent blockade of the principal HIV coreceptor, CCR5. Here we describe the development and optimization of a scalable low-cost production process for 5P12-RANTES based on expression in Pichia pastoris. At pilot (150 L) scale, this cGMP compliant process yielded 30 g of clinical grade 5P12-RANTES. As well as providing sufficient material for the first stage of clinical development, this process represents an important step towards achieving production of 5P12-RANTES at a cost and scale appropriate to meet needs for topical HIV prevention worldwide.
Highlights
•New medicines are required to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS in low-resource regions.•5P12-RANTES, a chemokine analog, is a promising new candidate drug.•We describe a process for producing clinical grade cGMP 5P12-RANTES in Pichia pastoris.•This is a key step to achieving production at cost and scale appropriate for use worldwide.
doi:10.1016/j.pep.2015.10.011
PMCID: PMC4725576  PMID: 26506568
Pichia; Yeast; Process development; Chemokine; HIV; Microbicide; CCR5; 5P12-RANTES; Biopharmaceutical; cGMP
2.  Smac Mimetic Bypasses Apoptosis Resistance in FADD- or Caspase-8-Deficient Cells by Priming for Tumor Necrosis Factor α-Induced Necroptosis12 
Neoplasia (New York, N.Y.)  2011;13(10):971-979.
Searching for new strategies to bypass apoptosis resistance, we investigated the potential of the Smac mimetic BV6 in Jurkat leukemia cells deficient in key molecules of the death receptor pathway. Here, we demonstrate for the first time that Smac mimetic primes apoptosis-resistant, FADD- or caspase-8-deficient leukemia cells for TNFα-induced necroptosis in a synergistic manner. In contrast to TNFα, Smac mimetic significantly enhances CD95-induced apoptosis in wild-type but not in FADD-deficient cells. Interestingly, Smac mimetic- and TNFα-mediated cell death occurs without characteristic features of apoptosis (i.e., caspase activation, DNA fragmentation) in FADD-deficient cells. By comparison, Smac mimetic and TNFα trigger activation of caspase-8, -9, and -3 and DNA fragmentation in wild-type cells. Consistently, the caspase inhibitor zVAD.fmk fails to block Smac mimetic- and TNFα-triggered cell death in FADD- or caspase-8-deficient cells, while it confers protection in wild-type cells. By comparison, necrostatin-1, an RIP1 kinase inhibitor, abolishes Smac mimetic- and TNFα-induced cell death in FADD- or caspase-8-deficient. Thus, Smac mimetic enhances TNFα-induced cell death in leukemia cells via two distinct pathways in a context-dependent manner: it primes apoptosis-resistant cells lacking FADD or caspase-8 to TNFα-induced, RIP1-dependent and caspase-independent necroptosis, whereas it sensitizes apoptosis-proficient cells to TNFα-mediated, caspase-dependent apoptosis. These findings have important implications for the therapeutic exploitation of necroptosis as an alternative cell death program to overcome apoptosis resistance.
PMCID: PMC3201573  PMID: 22028622
3.  Disruption of the SapM locus in Mycobacterium bovis BCG improves its protective efficacy as a vaccine against M. tuberculosis 
EMBO Molecular Medicine  2011;3(4):222-234.
Mycobacterium bovis bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG) provides only limited protection against pulmonary tuberculosis. We tested the hypothesis that BCG might have retained immunomodulatory properties from its pathogenic parent that limit its protective immunogenicity. Mutation of the molecules involved in immunomodulation might then improve its vaccine potential. We studied the vaccine potential of BCG mutants deficient in the secreted acid phosphatase, SapM, or in the capping of the immunomodulatory ManLAM cell wall component with α-1,2-oligomannoside. Both systemic and intratracheal challenge of mice with Mycobacterium tuberculosis following vaccination showed that the SapM mutant, compared to the parental BCG vaccine, provided better protection: it led to longer-term survival. Persistence of the SapM-mutated BCG in vivo resembled that of the parental BCG indicating that this mutation will likely not compromise the safety of the BCG vaccine. The SapM mutant BCG vaccine was more effective than the parental vaccine in inducing recruitment and activation of CD11c+MHC-IIintCD40int dendritic cells (DCs) to the draining lymph nodes. Thus, SapM acts by inhibiting recruitment of DCs and their activation at the site of vaccination.
doi:10.1002/emmm.201000125
PMCID: PMC3377067  PMID: 21328541
Mycobacterium; SapM; tuberculosis; vaccine; BCG

Results 1-3 (3)