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UW’s GlycoBac and MilliporeSigma Announce New Partnership

October 19, 2018
two men standing beside a sign
Christoph Geisler (left) and Ajay Maghodia are full-time GlycoBac employees who were instrumental in developing Sf-RVN cells. GlycoBac recently partnered with MilliporeSigma to offer a rhabdovirus-free insect cell line for viral vaccines and gene therapy development. (Don Jarvis Photo)

GlycoBac LLC, a University of Wyoming spin-out biotechnology company, and MilliporeSigma recently partnered to offer a rhabdovirus-free insect platform for viral vaccines and gene therapy development.

MilliporeSigma is a multinational conglomerate and subsidiary company to Merck KGaA, based in Darmstadt, Germany.

“We are excited to have negotiated an exclusive licensing agreement with this major company,” says Don Jarvis, a UW professor of molecular biology and president of GlycoBac LLC. “This licensing agreement allows a partnership in which GlycoBac will provide a virus-free insect cell line and MilliporeSigma will provide a chemically defined cell growth medium, which they will market, license and distribute worldwide as a bundled product.”

Jarvis says these products are applicable for biomanufacturing of protein-based drugs, such as vaccines. GlycoBac’s development of its virus-negative insect cell line -- Sf-rhabdovirus negative (Sf-RVN) -- will enable MilliporeSigma to offer the first platform combining a rhabdovirus-free insect cell line with a defined-growth medium to maximize biomanufacturing safety.

The virus-free insect cell line licensed by MilliporeSigma is a relatively new GlycoBac product, which resulted from research and development that began in spring 2014.

“This product has attracted significant attention in the field and provided GlycoBac’s first substantial income,” Jarvis says. “In addition, this product has led to several ongoing partnerships in other fields of use outside the biomanufacturing sector.”

For the past 30 years, including more than 20 at UW, Jarvis’ basic research has focused on developing an insect virus/insect cell system for recombinant protein production. Jarvis spun out GlycoBac in June 2011 after his student, Christoph Geisler, won UW’s John P. Ellbogen $30K Entrepreneurship Competition. Underpinning GlycoBac is a number of patents, which the Wyoming Research Products Center, working with Jarvis, has secured to protect this valuable intellectual property.

For more information, call Jarvis at (307) 766-4282 or email

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