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GEN News Highlights : Sep 10, 2009

arGEN-X Raises About $13.6M to Fortify mAb Development Platform

Company claims camelid immunization strategy leads to unparalleled antibody candidates.

Dutch antibody therapeutics company arGEN-X raised €9.5 million (about $13.6 million) in a Series A equity financing round. arGEN-X aims to use the proceeds to further develop its camelid-based Simple Antibody™ platform and build a preclinical pipeline of mAb candidates. The financing was co-led by Netherlands-based investment firms Forbion Capital Partners and LSP.

The Simple technology exploits the fact that the variable domains of camelid 4-chain antibodies display sequence homology and complete structural homology to their human counterparts. Camelid-derived antibodies also demonstrate high target-binding affinity, biological potency, and stability in comparison with antibodies derived from nonimmune or synthetic libraries, according to arGEN-X.

The platform is based on the active immunization of out-bred camelids with human disease targets to generate antibody repertoires as a starting point for mAb development. The company says minimal engineering is needed to yield full-sized mAbs with optimized human germline homology and the required human constant region isotype.

The Simple platform has already been validated on two human disease targets and is covered by broad patent claims. arGEN-X’ lead preclinical program is focused on an autoimmunity target, and two discovery programs in bone disease and oncology are also in progress.