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Cellmid Signs Antibody Humanization Collaboration

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Cellmid Limited has signed a collaboration agreement with Antitope Ltd (Cambridge, UK) for the humanization of its lead therapeutic monoclonal antibody candidate. The collaboration is expected to deliver a drug candidate, a first in class humanized anti-midkine antibody, using Cellmid’s patented sequence and Antitope’s proprietary EpiScreen™ and Composite Human Antibody™ technologies.

Antitope has already completed the interim milestone of producing a chimeric anti-midkine antibody, therefore significantly reducing the technical risks of the collaboration. The selection of the fully humanized lead is scheduled for Q3 2011.

As part of the agreement Antitope will also produce sufficient humanized antibody for preclinical testing using their proprietary high yielding CHO expression system. Pre-clinical testing of the humanized drug candidate in several disease models is anticipated to commence in Q4 2011.

Midkine is a potent pro-inflammatory molecule contributing to disease in a number of inflammatory and autoimmune disorders and cancers. In preclinical studies Cellmid’s anti-midkine antibodies have reduced symptoms of inflammation by sequestering circulating midkine in the blood. It is anticipated that a humanized anti-midkine antibody will be a potent modulator of inflammation and autoimmunity and may contribute to the treatment of a number of diseases.

Cellmid’s lead will be humanized by Antitope using their proprietary Composite Human Antibody™ technology. Composite Human Antibody™ technology is a proven platform for rapid generation of non-immunogenic, fully humanized candidates, with similar or better binding affinities than the template antibody. Additionally, Antitope’s Composite Human Antibody™ technology is clear of all the dominant patents in the humanization space, thus avoiding the need for Cellmid to pay royalties to third parties.

“We have conducted an extensive global search to find the right humanization partner for our anti-midkine assets. Antitope’s technical pedigree placed them on the top of our preferred humanization experts” said Cellmid CEO Maria Halasz.

“We are delighted to be working with Cellmid to assist with their drug discovery programs” said Dr Matthew Baker, Chief Scientific Officer and co-founder of Antitope, adding, "We are excited about the prospects for Cellmid’s therapeutic antibody against midkine and believe the development of fully humanized, non-immunogenic Composite Human Antibodies will support the development of safe and effective therapies.”

“We have chosen to collaborate with Antitope because of their outstanding technology, long track record of successful humanisation projects, clear intellectual property position and peerless scientific knowledge of the antibody engineering space” added Head of Product Development, Darren Jones.