Firm will combine fucose-removal technology with in-house camelid-based Simple platform for therapeutic antibodies.

arGEN-X negotiated a nonexclusive license to BioWa’s Potelligent® monoclonal antibody technology. The firm says it plans to apply the licensed platform to cancer and inflammatory disorder antibodies generated using its own Simple™ (superior immunodiversity with minimal protein lead engineering) technology as a means to further increase potency and offer resulting molecules to commercial partners.

BioWa’s Potelligent platform allows the production of 100% fucose-free monoclonal antibodies in CHO cells in which the FUT8 that is responsible for the fucose addition to sugar chains has been knocked out. The firm claims the resulting antibodies demonstrate signficantly enhanced antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) and efficacy, as well as increased Fc receptor binding. The Potelligent platform can in addition be applied to current antibody manufacturing processes.

arGEN-X’s Simple antibody platform is based on the active immunization of outbred Camelids with a target antigen, to generate highly diverse antibodies with variable regions that are nearly identical to those of human antibodies, the firm claims. These camelid antibodies are modified via minimal germlining (humanization) to produce variable antibody regions with 96–99% human sequence homology. The variable domains can then be combined with human constant domains to generate full-size, fully human therapeutic antibodies.

The firm claims the platform effectively accesses a broader diversity of functional epitopes on targets than nonimmune or inbred rodent systems. Other benefits of the Simple system include the ability to further optimize antibody potency by selecting variants via a simple chain shuffling step. The generation of Simple Antibodies™ also does not depend on any in vitro affinity maturation or engineering, arGEN-X states.

The firm’s preclincial in-house pipeline includes an anti-IL-6 antibody, ARGX-109, which it says has potential applications in acute and chronic inflammation, renal cell carcinoma, and endometrioid ovarian cancer. The candidate will initially be developed against ovarian cancer. ARGX-110 is a fully human antibody against a clinically validated complex cell surface receptor target, which arGEN-X believes could have utility in fields including cancer and inflammation. The anticancer candidate ARGX-111 specifically targets c-MET.

In January arGEN-X signed its first commercial partnership deal with Eli Lilly, focused on the discovery and development of therapeutic antibody products against a range of Lilly targets.

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