Camelid-derived antibody alliance
Rotterdam – Biopharmaceutical company arGEN-X BV has entered into an alliance that will generate monoclonal antibody candidates against diverse functional sites in targets from Eli Lilly and Co. Founded in 2008, the Dutch biotech firm has developed the SIMPLE antibody platform, which is based on the discovery that the variable domains of certain antibodies from camelids like llamas are very similar to their human counterparts. arGEN-X’s platform involves the active immunisation of out-bred camelids with targets to generate antibodies whose variable regions are virtually identical in stucture and sequence to human antibodies. The out-bred animals provide a greater diversity of mAbs than in-bred animal platforms.
In a further step, arGEN-X is combining selected variable domains of human antibodies to generate full-size, human therapeutical antibodies as development candidates. Lilly will have exclusive rights to develop and commercialise selected candidates, while arGEN-X will receive research funding and license fees, and is eligible for potential milestone payments. Further terms were not disclosed. The most advanced human monoclonal antibody candidate from the SIMPLE platform so far is ARGX-109, which targets IL-6 – a cytokine involved in autoimmune diseases and oncology indications. arGEN-X said an investigational new drug application is slated to be filed this year. The company also claimed it is in negotiations with a number of potential partners for the product.