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Microsoft, Oxford BioMedica team up to improve manufacturing of gene therapies

Microsoft Corp. entered into a research and development partnership with Oxford BioMedica PLC to help improve the quantity and quality of the company's gene therapy vectors using cloud and machine learning technologies.

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Oxford BioMedica manufactures lentiviral vectors, which have the ability to deliver genetic information into a cell. These vectors are used in chimeric antigen receptor T-cell, or CAR-T cell therapies that reinfuse modified immune cells of the patient to fight or prevent disease.

Oxford BioMedica supplied vectors to Novartis AG for Kymriah, which has been approved by the European Commission and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat certain types of blood cancer.

Under the two-year collaboration, the Oxford, U.K.-based biotechnology company will provide large data sets for analysis using Microsoft's Azure, a cloud computing service. Microsoft will use the data to develop computer simulation models and new algorithms to help with the development of the next generation of treatments.