PlasmidFactory, Bielefeld, Germany, has optimized the production process of minicircle DNA.
Minicircles are small, circular DNA elements. The genetic information located on this DNA elements are used for example in gene and cell therapy or DNA vaccination, but also for gene transfer and the production of pharmaceuticals.
The world’s first commercially available products based on the PlasmidFactory Minicircle technology have been already introduced. The idea – which allows any researcher to test such Minicircles in various gene transfer systems (different cells, transfection, etc.) – was rewarded with the innovation award “Market Visions” of OWL Marketing GmbH.
The optimization project was funded by the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).
Plasmids are usually used in gene therapy, cell therapy and genetic vaccination. A general drawback is that besides the therapeutic genes the plasmids contain a high proportion of other gene sequences, which are needed only for the purpose of multiplication in the host cells (Escherichia coli). Since these gene sequences may be interfering in the therapy of genetic diseases, it is a long-pursued objective in research to produce plasmids without these unnecessary and unwanted sequences.
Minicircle DNA contains almost exclusively the “Gene of Interest”. Redundant bacterial backbone sequences including e.g. resistances against antibiotics and the origin of replication (ori) are nearly completely removed. First studies show that the minicircle is highly efficient and is superior to conventional plasmids in terms of transfection.