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January 20, 2012

PolyTherics Acquires WEP for PEGylation and Glycopolymer Platforms

  • U.K. firm PolyTherics has acquired Warwick Effect Polymers (WEP), which provides specialty biopolymers based on its PolyPEG® and GlycoPol® platforms for the modification of biological products. PolyTherics says the acquisition will broaden its existing portfolio of technologies for polymer conjugation to proteins, peptides, and antibody drug conjugates.

    WEP’s PolyPEG platform is a next generation PEGylation technology based on low viscosity, comb-shaped polymers comprising short PEG chains, akin to teeth, attached to a poly(methacrylate) backbone. The PolyPEG polymers are designed using WEPs Living Radical Polymerization technology, which allows a wide range of structures and sizes to be produced. As a result, the firm says PolyPEG molecules in the size range 10 to 80+ kDa can be synthesized for attachment to biological molecules using standard and novel chemistries via a single active conjugating group.  

    GlycoPol is a glycopolymer technology for designing polymers containing a diverse array of carbohydrates for targeting target biological therapeutics such as proteins, peptides, oligonucleotides, and nanoparticles, to carbohydrate receptors on specific cells and tissues. The firm says GlycoPol can also be used to optimize the biological activity of a molecule by engineering the carbohydrate content of a biomolecule or introducing carbohydrates onto otherwise unglycosylated molecules.

    Established in 2001 as a University of Warwick spin out, WEP has agreements in place with pharma and biotech firms for the evaluation of its platforms, and it projects that licensing deals will be signed this year. 

    PolyTherics already offers its partners and licensees a suite of PEGylation technologies for attaching one or more molecules of poly (ethylene glycol) to any therapeutic peptide or protein. TheraPEG™ is designed for effecting PEGylation across one or more disfulfide bonds that are naturally present in a protein; HiPEG™ is applied to enable PEGylation at a histidine tag expressed at either one or both ends of a protein or peptide; and CyPEG™ facilitates PEGylation at the thiol group of free cysteine within a protein or peptide.

    Last month, speciality biologics and vaccines company Nuron Biotech exercised its option to take a license to PolyTherics’ TheraPEG conjugation technology to develop and commercialize a long-acting proprietary human interferon beta-1b (NU400).

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