|AUDENTES THERAPEUTICS, INC. filed this Form 10-K on 03/13/2017|
genomes and creating, assembling and filling viral vector capsids with those genomes. Our early phase product candidates are manufactured using transient transfection, in which genetic components for vector production are supplied to cells during each manufacturing run. We are evaluating a future transition to a stable cell line system, in which at least some genetic components are permanently integrated into the host cell genome before manufacturing occurs.
Our current production process utilizes HEK293 cells, which are the most commonly used host cell for AAV vector production. These cells are familiar to regulatory authorities and commercial cell culture media manufacturers, and take up foreign DNA robustly to produce high transient vector titers. Our early clinical stage production platform utilizes serum-free suspension cell culture of HEK293 cells and transient transfection of plasmids to produce clinical grade AAV vectors in a scalable process. We believe this approach maximizes speed of development, product quality and regulatory compliance. Further, our analytical team utilizes the latest technologies for characterization of biological molecules to enable the creation of strict standards of quality and potency that we believe will differentiate our products from others in the field.
Our Plans for Clinical and Commercial Scale-Up
As our products progress through clinical development, we plan to transition their production to newer mammalian cell processes that maximize vector product yield while maintaining the high quality derived from the current processes. This may include transitioning to a stable cell producer system that may employ a different mammalian cell line, which our team is currently evaluating in our research facilities. As large scale gene therapy manufacturing remains a new discipline, we view our investment in the capacity to develop, manufacture and analyze AAV vectors as strategically important, and we expect it to yield intellectual property and know-how that benefits both our internal programs and the broader gene therapy field.
We have licensed numerous patents and patent applications and possess substantial proprietary know-how and trade secrets relating to our development programs and manufacturing capabilities. We strive to protect and enhance the proprietary technology, inventions and improvements that are commercially important to the development of our business by seeking, maintaining and defending our intellectual property, whether developed internally or licensed from third parties. We also rely on trade secrets, know-how, continuing technological innovation and in-licensing opportunities to develop, strengthen and maintain our proprietary position in the field of gene therapy. Additionally, we intend to rely on regulatory protection afforded through orphan disease drug designations, data exclusivity and market exclusivity as well as patent term extensions, where available.
We are heavily dependent on patented or proprietary technologies that we license from third parties. For additional information regarding these license agreements, see “—License and Collaboration Agreements.” We anticipate that we will require additional licenses to third-party intellectual property rights relating to our development programs in the future, which may not be available on commercially reasonable terms, if at all.
Our in-licensed patents and patent applications are directed to the compositions of matter and methods of use related to various aspects of our product candidates as well as certain aspects of our manufacturing capabilities. As of December 31, 2016, we had filed one U.S. provisional patent application directed to modified AAV vectors and methods of manufacturing the same, as well as one international patent application claiming the benefit of priority to the same. If granted, we expect that a U.S. patent claiming priority to this application would expire in 2036. Our in-licensed patent portfolio as it relates to one or more of our product candidates includes: