The Best Defense Is Good Science
Starting from fundamental virology, Kevin Kayser and the upstream R&D team at Merck discovered the mechanism by which Minute Virus of Mice (MVM) infects CHO cells, and the respective genes involved in viral uptake.
Kevin Kayser |
Before joining Sigma-Aldrich in 2002, Kevin Kayser, now Senior R&D Director at Merck (known as MilliporeSigma in the US and Canada), worked as a professor and researcher, using gene editing to stabilize proteins in industrial microbial systems. He applied those skills to the fundamentals of viral infection at Sigma-Aldrich, which was acquired by Merck KGaA in 2015. Their aim was to genetically engineer a line of CHO cells that would be immune to Minute Virus of Mice (MVM) – and they didn’t know whether his goal was remotely feasible. The work culminated in Centinel, described as “intelligent virus defense”.
Centinel is a gene-editing technology that can make CHO cell lines completely resistant to MVM. Centinel claimed the top spot in The Medicine Maker 2016 Innovation Awards. Here, Kayser talks us through the development process, and why insurance against MVM contamination is so important.
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