The overall objective for this EAGER proposal is to develop a framework to support the international Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cell community's effort to move into the genomeera. CHO cells are currently the most widely used mammalian cell line for biopharmaceutical production. Nearly 70% of all recombinant biotherapeutics, yielding a global market of nearly $100 billion per year, are produced in CHO cells. Biopharmaceutical production will continue to provide the pharmaceutical industry with tremendous growth in the next several years, enabling continued research into new medical treatments and the expansion of manufacturing facilities. Unfortunately, efforts to improve the system using metabolic engineering and other scientific and engineering methodologies have lagged due to the absence of a genome and community genome framework. As a result, this project will implement the infrastructure to pursue two specific aims for support of the international CHO community: Specific Aim #1: Develop an information technology (IT) - infrastructure to support the sharing of genome-scale data and tools for the CHO biotechnology community and provide a forum where the CHO biotechnology community can interact and synergize on-line. Specific Aim #2: Educate graduate students on the use of bioinformatics to implement and analyze the CHO genome and enhance specific productivity and product quality using new webbased tools of importance to the CHO community. The intellectual merit of this proposal results from the development of a one-stop website portal to support the community. As part of the establishment of this portal, a number of bioinformatic tools will need to be employed to seamlessly migrate existing genome-scale datasets into a common interface. The broader impact of this proposal relates to the important impact this effort will have on the entire international CHO biotechnology community. Partners from a wide range of international entities including academic, government, and industrial scientists, have come together to support the CHO genome community by providing resources, expertise, and data. Additional impact will come from the education of graduate students working on the project who will closely interface with industrial scientists and from workforce development activities for the industrial community.

Project Report

The overall objective for this NSF EAGER proposal was to develop a framework to support the international Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cell community's effort to move into the genome-era. The CHO cell is currently the most important and commonly used platform for the manufacture of certain classes of medicines known as biologics. More than $30 billion / year of CHO-based biologics are sold each year. A challenge with the production of medicines from CHO cells is that CHO cells do not always behave consistently during the manufacturing process. This inconsistency means that it is more difficult and more expensive to manufacture these medicines. Recently, a draft genome of the CHO cell was published and made available to the community. This advance was a landmark for the entire biotechnology industry because ithas the potential to enable scientists to better understand and control how CHO cells behave when manufacturing medicines. Ultimately, this information will facilitate work by scientists to make the most effective medicines and to make them as cheaply as possible. To achieve these benefits however, the CHO biotechnology community must work together to define the genome as clearly as possible - a collaborative effort that will take several years. Our project establishes a website at that serves as the primary repository for genomic data and information related to CHO cells and that can be used to communicate updates and findings with the CHO biotechnology community. It is established as a partnership among academic groups (at Delaware, Johns Hopkins, Vienna, and elsewhere) in addition to government agencies (NSF and NIST) as well as with a number of biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies. During the project, we established the website and built a number of tools required by scientists to study and analyze the CHO genome. These include the hosting of the basic genome information that was originally published in 2011. It also includes hosting of a new version of the genome that came out in 2012 and the establishment of what is known as a BLAST server and a genome browser. In 2013, we established new databases for CHO protein information. To date, 6798 unique users have relied on the CHO genome website. These individuals come from more than 1200 different cities in 70 different countries. The results from this project have been published in four peer-reviewed publications and been presented at 16 different international conferences and meetings.

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University of Delaware
United States
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