Mammalian cells, especially the Chinese hamster ovary cell line (CHO), are the most important production vehicle for making recombinant human proteins, such as cytokines and antibodies, for human therapeutic use. Improving the efficiency of production of complex biotherapeutics will be critical in controlling costs to healthcare systems as more of these drugs come to market. This field represents an important opportunity for future development of the pharmaceutical industry and a significant area for employment of scientists in Ireland. Understanding of the basic biology underpinning the CHO production system is lacking – the field has developed on a pragmatic basis without a high level of understanding of the cellular molecular biology involved. In collaboration with a number of leading international biopharmaceutical companies and academic collaborators, NICB scientists are applying state-of-the-art technologies in proteomics to profile protein expression patterns associated with desirable production phenotypes. We are also investigating the role of candidate pathways using functional genomics approaches to improve the efficiency of biotherapeutic production.

Research Area