Pepscan is to receive a minority stake in Immunovo as part of the companies’ agreement to partner on development of Pepscan’s therapeutic vaccine portfolio. Pepscan will also receive an undisclosed cash payment.
The firm says partnering its vaccine candidates will allow it to concentrate its resources on the development of mAbs and therapeutic peptides using its protein mimicry technology, CLIPS™ (chemical linkage of peptides onto scaffolds).
“Pepscan created a rich development pipeline of therapeutic vaccines, of which the most advanced is in Phase II clinical development,” remarks Joost van Bree, Immunovo CEO. “We are confident that with our specific expertise we will be able to expedite the development of this portfolio, which also includes a proprietary VEGF-A vaccine that could be useful for the treatment of certain cancers.”
Pepscan is developing mAbs against a number of disease-relevant G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) primarily in the field of oncology. The firm is using its CLIPS mapping technology to identify the binding sites of the GPCR ligands and use the resulting CLIPS immunogens that mimic the ligand binding sites to induce antibodies against the native receptor that behave as functional antagonists.
Pepscan is also developing products based on its Cys-knot truncation technology (TRUNC™). The family of structurally related Cys-knot proteins includes therapeutically relevant targets such as VEGF, TGF, and PLGF, the firm explains. Using its TRUNC technology Pepscan is developing Cys-knot fragments that mimic the essential binding elements of individual Cys-knot proteins to potentially develop neutralizing antibodies. The firm has already applied to VEGF, and claims it has synthesized a fragment that structurally mimics the complete binding site of Roche’s Avastin, which is capable of raising neutralizing antibodies against VEGF both in vitro and in vivo.