China’s Gansu Shanghai Duyiwei Biotechnology (GSDB) negotiated an exclusive license to develop Apexigen’s VEGF2-targeting humanized mAb, APX004, in China. The candidate is in development for the treatment of specific cancers and angiogenic diseases. Under terms of the deal GDBP will have sole responsibility for all product development and commercialization activities in its territory. Apexigen will collaborate with the firm on the development program and receive an up front payment, relevant development/regulatory milestones, plus sales royalties.
Apexigen uses its RabMab®* rabbit monoclonal antibody and mutational lineage guided (MLG) antibody humanizing platform for the development of humanized antibodies against a range of diseases. The RabMab platform is a hybridoma-based antibody technology, which allows the generation of a large number of rabbit mAbs with a diverse repertoire, high affinity, and unique specificities and functionalities.
The MLG humanization procedure is from the CDR-grafting method used in humanizing murine derived antibodies. The technique allows humanization of residues in the framework and in the CDR regions of the antibody, allowing retention of full antibody activity in the humanized antibody. Apexigen claims its MLG approach is thus conceptually and technically different from the CDR-grafting method used in humanizing murine derived antibodies, as it is guided by both biological and sequence information.
The firm’s in-house and partnered pipeline includes inhibitory antibodies targeting TNF-α, interleukin-1β, VEGF, VEGF2, the IL-6 receptor, the receptor activator of NF-κB ligand, and a CD40 agonist antibody. The firm has ongoing antibody technology or product development partnerships in place with Centocor, Simcere, 3SBio, and Jiangsu T-mab Biotechnology.