Immortalized Chick Fibroblast Cell Line for Production of Human and Veterinary Vaccines




Cell-culture-based technology for vaccine production is robust, reliable, and could become a practical alternative for the pharmaceutical industry. Once the virus is propagated and harvested, the downstream processing parameters for purification, filling, and packaging of the vaccine are similar to current pharmaceutical methodologies and egg-based methodologies. However, there are no lead times involved because typical cell-culture processes use cell lines. Once a cell line is infected with the seed virus in a fermenter, the process can begin. The critical aspect is the availability of the seed virus. The substrates or media for cell-line propagation are also not susceptible to virulent virus strains like embryonated chicken eggs.


The cell-culture vaccine process is suitable for large-scale manufacturing, and the process parameters can be ramped up and run routinely and cost-effectively. The typical cell-culture production process can be run in batch sizes of practical scale, sufficient to provide vaccine quantities for inter-pandemic periods and pandemics.


Description of Technology


Michigan State University’s invention is an immortalized chick fibroblast cell line in bovine-free substrate that is non-tumorigenic and exhibits more efficient and higher yield production than chick embryos.


Key Benefits

  • Safe cell line: Testing was completed to prove the cell line is non-tumorigenic, unlike Madin-Darby canine kidney (MDCK) and Per C6 cells, two of the competing cell lines for vaccine production.
  • Efficient downstream process: This immortalized cell line does not require additional porcine or synthetic trypsin to cleave off the virus particle.
  • Higher yield system: The invention supports replication of most types of influenza and produces more influenza virus per unit than MDCK and Per C6 cells.
  • Serum- and animal product-free substrate: The FDA requires that all cell line based systems are free of bovine plasma or proteins, so there is no safety concern for prions.
  • Ability to grow other viruses: This cell line has effectively produced reovirus, herpesvirus, influenza, and adenovirus.
  • Chemical Immortalization: No use of viruses or exogenous DNA in the immortalization phase




The technology can be used by pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies to develop vaccines for medical and veterinary use.


Patent Status


US Patent # 8716016




Paul Coussens, Patty Dickerson-Weber, Christopher Colvin, Kristen Smith (Pabst)


Tech ID




Patent Information:


For Information, Contact:

Thomas Herlache
Assistant Director
Michigan State University