New cancer therapies that use active viruses cannot always be studied using standard drug development practices. The NIST Center for Neutron Research user facility provides the biopharmaceutical industry with neutron scattering methods and modeling techniques to help them understand the properties of their viral drug formulations.
The NIST Center for Neutron Research provides users with access to neutron scattering techniques that can shed light on properties of a new class of biomolecules, oncolytic viruses, which preferentially infect and kill cancer cells. Amgen partnered with NIST to perform studies on the first oncolytic virus therapy approved by the FDA. Using neutron scattering, NIST scientists observed structural changes to the virus particles after they were frozen and thawed multiple times, such as happens during storage and transport. Follow-up studies using neutron measurements showed that different drug formulations affect virus integrity after repeated freeze/thaw cycles.
12 number of years NIST and Amgen have worked together under a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement
“Amgen acknowledges the valuable impact of small-angle neutron scattering (SANS) measurements on one of our newer virus based drugs, talimogene laherparepvec. SANS was used to characterize the structural integrity of the virus preparations. SANS measurements and analysis run by uniquely qualified NIST scientists confirmed that the virus structure can be affected by the formulation conditions and that formulation adjustments may improve viral particle stability.”
– Arnold McAuley, Amgen Senior Scientist