Sylvain CecchiniAssociate Professor of Microbiology & Physiological Systems, Director rAAV Manufacturing Facility at University of Massachusetts Medical School, USA
Dr. Sylvain Cecchini’s mission at UMass Chan Medical School is to bring state-of-the-art large scale manufacturing technology and procedures to a new core facility, which will provide academic and non-affiliated investigators with access to rAAV vectors in sufficient quantities to support non-clinical and toxicological studies, thereby overcoming the major obstacle in translational rAAV gene therapy. Because our GLP level manufacturing is so affordable, we expect that the UMass Chan facility will enable the development of novel therapeutics with potential benefit to patients currently without available therapeutic options.
Dr. Cecchini, working in the lab with Dr. Rob Kotin, developed and optimized a program to assess the scalability of Sf9 cell-based rAAV production platform and engineered solutions to overcome reproducibility of rAAV yield. With some adjustments, this method is still the gold standard for Sf9-based rAAV production today. In 2009, during the course of a renowned Duchenne muscular dystrophy dog study, Drs. Cecchini and Kotin and their group produced more rAAV in their lab than was produced in the rest of the world, combined.
Dr. Cecchini and his collaborators supported the technology transfer of this method by collaborating with and training researchers in France, Japan, the Netherlands, and domestically to establish their own AVV production that could be developed for future clinical applications.
Dr Cecchini then moved to industry at Voyager Therapeutics where he established the GMP process at the MassBiologics facility in Fall River, MA and helped to transfer the technology and to develop their CMC program. He also re-engineered and optimized the AAV capsid baculovirus expression vectors including AAV2, AAVDJ, AAVDJ8, AAVrh10, AAV9, and AAVB1.