Amgen is teaming up with Elasmogen and Feldan Therapeutics to develop a platform for delivering drug candidates to two of Amgen’s intracellular targets. The collaboration will combine Feldan’s peptide-based Shuttle delivery platform and Elasmogen’s soloMER™ binding domain technology. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Canadian firm Feldan’s Shuttle platform is a 100% protein-based, virus-free, DNA-free and RNA-free technology for delivering proteins directly inside cells. The firm claims its platform has been used successfully to transfer active nucleases and transcription factors inside several types of cells. Feldan’s in-house research is focused on generating hyperactive natural killer (NK) cells for oncology applications.
Scotland-based Elasmogen is a University of Aberdeen spinout, which is developing fully humanized, single-chain soloMER molecules derived from variable new antigen receptors (VNARs) that are present in sharks as high-affinity binding domains. Elasmogen claims that at just 9% the size of antibodies, soloMERs are the smallest naturally occurring binding domains, and are also inherently stable and resistant to pH changes.
The firm’s lead in-house programs target inflammatory eye diseases. In March, Elasmogen won £1.2 million ($1.55 million) in funding from Biomedical Catayst Grant from Innovate UK and investment from Deepbridge Capital and Scottish Investment Bank to support development of its ELN/21 and ELN/22 candidates for the topical treatment of ocular disease.
In addition to in-house programs, Elasmogen is also partnering with Almac Discovery on an anticancer soloMER drug conjugate (SDC) program and is working with Merck in the field of bioprocessing. Elasmogen is also developing its NDure™ soloMER candidate to significantly extend the serum half-life of proteins and peptides, including single-chain variable fragments (scFv), growth factors, or single domains.
Elasmogen and Feldan established an exclusive partnership in 2016 to combine their technologies for developing intracellular biologics. The firms say they have already demonstrated both the intracellular and intranuclear delivery of soloMER binding domains.