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GEN News Highlights : Feb 2, 2011

Scil Raises €24M to Take Two Affilin Candidates into Phase I over Next Three Years

Firm claims ubiquitin-derived scaffold proteins are stable, highly specific, and easy to manufacture.

Germany-based biopharma firm Scil Proteins raised €24 million (nearly $33 million) through a financing round with one of its existing investors, BioNet Holding. Scil says it will use the funds to support the development of two of its Affilin® platform candidates into Phase I studies over the next three years.

Scil is developing new drugs based on its Affilin drug discovery platform, primarily for indications in cancer and inflammation. Affilin molecules are essentially target-specific scaffold proteins derived from the natural serum protein ubiquitin, which can be fused or conjugated to effector molecules, so one Affilin molecule allows the potential development of multiple conjugates.

The firm claims that the molecules bind to disease-related targets with high affinity and specificity, demonstrate a low immunogenic potential, and allow rapid preclinical development cycles. Affilins also demonstrate high stability, can be manufactured cost-effectively, and are amenable to genetic and chemical manipulations, it adds. In particular, the ubiquitin scaffold has a lack of disulfide bonds and post-translational modifications, which enable efficient microbial production. Moreover, the scaffold is stable in gastrointestinal fluid, opening up the potential to develop oral drugs for gastrointestinal disorders.

Scil is building an Affilin candidate pipeline in house, and is in addition offering its technology platform to biotech and pharmaceutical partners. The firm’s existing preclinical pipeline is headed by a cancer/imaging candidate SPVF 2801-10. A second candidate for potential anticancer indications, SPVF 2801-30, is undergoing late-stage validation.