San Diego Biotech company working with drug makers on coronavirus vaccine

Posted at 6:31 PM, Feb 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-11 21:44:16-05

SAN DIEGO - (KGTV) A San Diego biotech company is doing research that could lead to a vaccine against the coronavirus.

Todd Nelson is the CEO of SGI-DNA in Sorrento Valley. His company invented the first automated gene printer.

"We use that system actually to print genes. Genes are made of little building blocks that you've heard of, and we use that to rapidly, and in an automated fashion, print genes that researchers can use around the world for vaccine development. "

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The printer is called the BIO XP 3200. Roughly, 200 are in use around the world.

"We're basically taking an entire laboratory of researchers that are doing various things, and we put it in a box," said Nelson.

Researchers are using the printer to write the genes of the coronavirus.

"Even a nasty little thing like the coronavirus has its own genes, and there are certain genes that make that amenable to being a vaccine, and we know what those are so we put the information into the system, and we push a button and about 8 hours later that potential gene comes out ," said Nelson.

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Nelson is confident the technology will lead to a vaccine.

"We're partnering with pharmaceutical firms to develop that in a very, very rapid fashion in the next 7 to 10 days to develop a vaccine," said Nelson.

The company used the same technology to help develop a vaccine for the Bird Flu in 2013.

Dan Gibson is the company's chief technology officer and the inventor of the technology used in the gene printer.

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"That's really the power of synthetic DNA technology. You can keep up with the virus and write and build many vaccines to fight it and ultimately find a universal solution that puts an end to the coronavirus outbreak."