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Sigma-Aldrich Boosts CHOZN, Falls on Downgrade

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SAFC Commercial, the custom manufacturing services business unit of Sigma-Aldrich Corporation (SIAL), declared on Sep 19 that it has added two new novel host cell lines to its CHOZN Platform cell line, which will enhance the utility of the CHOZN portfolio of products and services.

However, the company's shares slipped roughly 2.4% to close at $85.93 on last Friday after its stock was downgraded by Robert W. Baird analysts to Neutral from Outperform.

The glutamine synthetase (GS) cell line of the CHOZN platform is specially designed to help streamlined selection, identification and scale-up of high-producing manufacturing clones for the production of recombinant protein drugs. It also saves weeks of development time. Along with this, the lean chemically defined (:CD) media and feed system allows for tunable product quality.   

The new novel host cell lines in the CHOZN portfolio were developed after rigorous research. The first novel host cell line is the CHOZN GS host trait which is built with a knockout of the MGAT1 gene function. This leads to early termination of the N-glycan pathway and enables the expression of recombinant proteins with homogeneous high Man5 glycan profiles. The host cell line can be used for protein crystallography studies and also for the expression of biotherapeutics.

The second novel host cell line is the CHOZN GS host trait which is built with the knockouts of the CMAH and GGTA gene sequences. These two genes help in the expression of recombinant proteins that do not contain the antigenic alpha-gal and Neu5Gc moieties on the glycan structures and makes them capable of producing potentially safer therapeutic proteins.

Sigma-Aldrich's CHOZN portfolio includes the CHOZN Platform (CHOZN GS CHO cell line and an optimized set of cGMP-produced, CD media and feeds), additional CHOZN ZFN-modified cell lines, ZFN reagents along with customization options including cell line and media development projects.

SAFC's cGMP-produced and tested CHOZN GS cell line is powered by Sigma-Aldrich's patented Zr Zinc Finger Nuclease (:ZFN) technology.  It is the first GS knockout CHO line of its type available in the market.

Sigma-Aldrich currently retains a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Other specialty chemical companies with favorable Zacks Rank are Ferro Corp. (FOE), Minerals Technologies Inc. (MTX) and Sensient Technologies Corp. (SXT). All of them hold a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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