Heptares Therapeutics, and Kymab Limited, have entered into a strategic collaboration to discover, develop and commercialise novel antibody therapeutics targeting a number of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCR) with an initial focus on immuno-oncology.
Immuno-oncology is an exciting new area in the treatment of cancer where the body’s immune system is activated to produce an immune response targeted at tumour cells. Immunotherapy drugs are poised to revolutionise the way cancer is treated and a number of immunotherapy antibody treatments have recently been approved. GPCRs are widely expressed on cells of the innate and adaptive immune system and play key roles in modulating cell migration and recruitment to the tumour environment, activation, survival, proliferation and differentiation. GPCRs act at critical checkpoints that can be targeted by novel immunotherapy antibodies.
Under the agreement, Heptares will apply its StaR® platform to create stable antigens based on multiple GPCR targets chosen by the companies. Kymab will then use its Kymouse™ human antibody discovery platform to generate antibodies in response to immunisation with these antigens. The Kymouse platform will assure the highest probability of finding the best-in-class antibodies with highly attractive drug properties. Promising leads will be progressed using the partners’ complementary skills, resources and development capabilities in order to bring innovative products into the clinic. Under the agreement, the companies will jointly conduct and share the costs of each antibody discovery and development programme.
Malcolm Weir, Chairman and CEO of Heptares, said: “GPCRs have long been intractable targets for antibody discovery resulting in dearth of products. We believe that our proven StaR technology can unlock this substantial opportunity, not just in immuno-oncology but also across other therapeutic areas where GPCR-targeted biologics could have a significant impact. By entering into strategic collaborations with companies with world-leading antibody discovery technologies, such as Kymab, we have the potential to discover, develop and commercialise a highly valuable pipeline of new biologic products.”
David Chiswell, CEO of Kymab, said: “Antibodies are important therapeutic agents for cancer and other indications. Our collaboration with Heptares will allow us to combine stable antigens based on multiple GPCR targets with our world-class Kymouse platform, which has unparalleled diversity and will therefore rapidly identify and yield highly selective potent human monoclonal antibodies for unmet medical needs.”