Quality Control of Viral Vector Production at the Salk Institute

Current recombinant viral vectors are highly effective agents for the safe, efficient and long-term delivery of genes and regulatory DNA/RNA elements to a wide range of cells and tissues. This technology holds great promise for the development of targeted disease-specific therapies, as well as providing a critical and increasingly important platform for gene delivery in all areas of basic and applied biomedical research.

The Gene Transfer, Targeting and Therapeutics (GT3) facility at The Salk Institute and the Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine in La Jolla, CA specializes in the design, development and production of high quality in vivo grade recombinant viral vectors derived from lentivirus, retrovirus, adenovirus, recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV), rabies virus and herpes virus. Dr Daniel Gibbs directs the GT3 facility, which produces custom viral vectors for a large range of academic research groups, as well as local biotech.

“We have found that introducing the qViro system into our production and QC pipeline has greatly increased our ability to troubleshoot viral vector production and ensure cost-effective and timely production of high quality viral vectors”

   Dr. Dan Gibbs, Manager, Viral Vector Core Facility at Salk Institute for Biological Studies.

The GT3 core uses Izon’s nanoparticle analysis capabilities to assay the physical titer (concentration), particle size distribution, degree of aggregation as well as the purity of the viral vectors they generate at all stages in the production process. “The information we get from nanoparticle analysis of our viral vectors complements other established analysis methods such as qPCR/qRT-PCR, providing a complete picture of viral particle integrity, production efficiency and infectivity without the high costs associated with electron microscopy or other time consuming methods commonly used to assay physical titer, such as p24 Elisa for lentiviral vectors.”

“This has been useful for product optimization, and can tell us very early on in the production process whether a particular preparation will be of sufficiently high quality and titer, and therefore if it is worth proceeding with downstream purification steps or not. This translates into real cost savings over time, and far less variation in the quality of the viral vectors we produce.”