Collaboration could lead to licensing deal for PEGylated bispecific candidates.

PolyTherics and MacroGenics signed a collaboration agreement that aims to combine PolyTherics’ site-specific PEGylation technology with one of MacroGenics’ Dual-Affinity Re-Targeting (DART™) candidates. The agreement also gives MacroGenics an option to use the PEGylation technologies for additional DART products and an option to license the technology for development and commercialization of PEGylated DART proteins.

PolyTherics claims that studies have already confirmed that its TheraPEG™ PEGylation technology can extend the half-life of antibody fragments without the loss of activity in vitro. “PolyTherics’ unique PEGylation technology appears to be well suited to enhance the pharmacologic properties of MacroGenics’ bispecific DART proteins,” comments Scott Koenig, Ph.D., MacroGenics’ president and CEO.

PolyTherics is exploiting its TheraPEG, HiPEG™, and CyPEG™ technologies for attaching one or more molecules of poly (ethylene glycol) (PEG) to therapeutic peptides or proteins to slow their elimination from the body. TheraPEG affects PEGylation across one or more disulfide bonds naturally present in the protein. HiPEG is used to PEGylate at a histidine tag expressed at one or both ends of a protein or peptide. CyPEG attaches the PEG polymer at the thiol group of free cysteine within a protein or peptide.

The firm is leveraging its technologies in-house to develop biobetter interferon alpha and interferon beta products, both of which are in preclinical development. PolyTherics is also collaborating with academic and industrial partners, including Zealand Pharma and Celtic Pharma, on the development of PEGylated products for a range of diseases and disorders.

Most recently PolyTherics partnered with researchers at University College London to develop a PEGylated product for treating antiphospholipid syndrome. Also, in September, PolyTherics inked a manufacturing deal with DSM BioSolutions for the process development and manufacture of PolyTherics’ preclinical-stage lead product, HiPEG IFN α-2a. It is currently seeking a partner for the development of HiPEG IFN α-2a as a treatment for hepatitis C.

MacroGenics’s DART platform enables the design of dual specificity antibody-like therapeutic proteins that the firm claims can target multiple different epitopes using a single recombinant molecule. Its product pipeline includes preclinical DART candidates against inflammation, autoimmune diseases, and solid tumors.

DART development is being carried out in-house and through collaborations. In October MacroGenics teamed up with Boehringer Ingelheim to discover, develop, and commercialize DART-based therapeutics across multiple therapeutic areas. Also in October MacroGenics and Pfizer inked a deal to discover, develop, and commercialize DART products directed at two undisclosed cancer targets.

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