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GEN News Highlights : Sep 27, 2010

ArGEN-X Wins €1.5M IWT Grant to Progress Camelid-Derived Human Antibody Pipeline

Second IWT award will fund preclinical development of lead anti-IL-6 candidate and other mAbs.

Netherlands-based arGEN-X won a €1.5 million grant from the Institute for the Promotion of Innovation by Science and Technology in Flanders (IWT) to fund further preclinical development of its lead therapeutic mAb projects. The most advanced of these is ARGX-109, an anti-IL-6 antibody for the potential treatment of autoimmune, inflammatory, and oncologic diseases.

The award is arGEN-X’ second fron IWT. A year ago the firm received €1.3 million from the Flemish government agency to validate the Simple Antibody™ discovery platform at its newly established R&D subsidiary in Flanders. “Today’s news highlights the power of our proprietary Simple Antibody platform when compared to established human antibody technologies,” comments Hans de Haard, Ph.D., CSO.

arGEN-X’ Simple Antibody platform underpins all its antibody programs. The technology involves the active immunization of outbred animals from the camelid family with a target antigen. This results in the generation of highly diverse antibodies with variable regions that are nearly identical to those of human antibodies, the firm claims. The variable domains are then combined with human constant domains to generate full-size, fully human therapeutic antibodies.

The camelid approach results in the production of variable antibody regions displaying 96-99% human sequence homology with minimal germlining and without any loss in affinity and potency, arGEN-X claims. Benefits of the Simple Antibody platform include the ability to generate highly diverse panels of ultra-potent antibodies against a broad range of targets, particularly conserved targets and those that are intractable using other technologies, the firm adds. Speed of antibody generation and optimization is another key factor. arGEN-X says it to took less than 12 months from the start of discovery to progress lead anti-IL-6 candidate ARGX-109 into preclinical development. 

The firm aims to exploit its antibody platform both through in-house product development and through collaborations with the biopharma industry.