Auburn University, Autodesk and Gen9 Collaborate to Create Longest Synthetic Virus for Cancer Research

- November 2nd, 2016

Gen9, a pioneer in the development of scalable technologies for synthesizing and assembling DNA, in partnership with Auburn University and Autodesk, today announced the successful manufacture of a synthetic viral genome for canine bone cancer research. The sCAV2 virus, measuring over 34,000 base pairs in length, is the longest functional virus synthesized by scientists for … Continued

Gen9, a pioneer in the development of scalable technologies for
synthesizing and assembling DNA, in partnership with Auburn University
and Autodesk, today announced the successful manufacture of a synthetic
viral genome for canine bone cancer research. The sCAV2 virus, measuring
over 34,000 base pairs in length, is the longest functional virus
synthesized by scientists for oncology research. The sCAV2 virus is a
conditionally replicative adenovirus (CRAd), or a class of oncolytic
viruses, that selectively targets and destroys tumor cells, avoiding
healthy cells in the process.
A team of clinicians and scientists led by Dr. Bruce Smith at Auburn
University’s College of Veterinary Medicine will use the synthetic virus
in clinical trials to evaluate therapeutic treatments in dogs with
osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer with a survival rate of less than
10%.
“Our concept is taking personalized medicine to precision medicine. The
technology to create a new virus by synthesizing it is a huge leap, but
the ability to then make a customized virus tailored to the specific
needs of each patient will be transformative,” said Bruce F. Smith,
V.M.D, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Pathobiology and Director of the
Auburn University Research Initiative in Cancer (AURIC). “This could
change the way we fight cancer. It is that revolutionary.”
Gen9’s BioFab® DNA synthesis platform was utilized in the synthesis of
the sCAV2 oncolytic virus. By leveraging the technology’s ability to
manufacture hundreds of megabases of high-quality long-length synthetic
DNA, the timeframe for development was reduced from months to weeks,
enabling Dr. Smith and his team to drastically accelerate their
research. Using a synthetic approach also opens up the possibility of
the rapid creation of therapeutic viruses tailored to specific patients’
needs.
“The construction of this viral genome is a tremendous step for DNA
synthesis and its application to therapeutics research,” said Dr. Devin
Leake, Vice President of Research and Development at Gen9. “Our
partnership with Autodesk and Auburn sums up what fundamentally excites
us the most about the field of synthetic biology and what we do here at
Gen9—collaborating with world-class scientists on the groundbreaking
research that is shaping the future.”
“At Autodesk, we’ve been prototyping the ‘3D printing’ of medicines for
several years,” said Andrew Hessel, distinguished research scientist in
the Autodesk BioNano Research Group, and the catalyst behind the
project. “This work demonstrates that personalized, made-on-demand
therapies are within reach, and our efforts in combatting cancer in dogs
could lead the way in next-generation care.”
For more information about the work being done in Dr. Smith’s lab at
Auburn, visit: http://www.vetmed.auburn.edu/
For
more information about Gen9, visit www.gen9bio.com.
For
more information about Autodesk, visit www.autodesk.com.
About Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine
The Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine is the seventh
oldest college of veterinary medicine in North America and was the first
in the southeastern United States. Our mission is to prepare individuals
for careers of excellence in veterinary medicine, including private and
public practice, industrial medicine, academics, and research. The
College provides programs of instruction, research, outreach, and
service that are in the best interests of the citizens of the state of
Alabama, the region, the nation, and the world. The College’s Strategic
Plan has three major goals: enhance student success; promote discovery;
and practice the highest standards of veterinary medicine.
About Autodesk
Autodesk makes software for people who make things. If you’ve ever
driven a high-performance car, admired a towering skyscraper, used a
smartphone, or watched a great film, chances are you’ve experienced what
millions of Autodesk customers are doing with our software. Autodesk
gives you the power to make anything. For more information visit autodesk.com or
follow @autodesk.
Autodesk and the Autodesk logo are registered trademarks or
trademarks of Autodesk, Inc., and/or its subsidiaries and/or affiliates
in the USA and/or other countries.

About Gen9
Gen9 is the premier next-generation gene synthesis company focused on
high-quality, high-throughput, automated production of DNA constructs.
The Gen9 technology allows for the lowest-cost and highest-quality DNA
constructs commercially available. Founded by world leaders in synthetic
biology, Gen9 aims to ensure the constructive application of synthetic
biology in industries ranging from enzyme and chemical production to
pharmaceuticals and biofuels. Gen9 is powering the synthetic biology
revolution from our headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Visit Gen9
at www.gen9bio.com
or follow @gen9bio.

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