RuiYi (formerly Anaphore) negotiated a worldwide exclusive license to ArGEN-X’ preclinical anti-IL-6 monoclonal antibody ARGX-109, which is in development as a potential treatment for oncology and inflammatory disease indications. Under terms of the deal, RuiYi will make arGEN-X an up-front cash fee and equity investment, and future clinical, regulatory, and commercialization milestone payments, plus royalties on worldwide sales of resulting products.

Developed using arGEN-X’ Simple Antibody™ platform, ARGX-109 is the first of five preclinical-stage human antibodies developed within the three years since the firm was established. “ARGX-109 was carefully selected based on its physical and biologic attributes and its range of potential clinical applications in both inflammatory diseases and oncology,” comments Paul Grayson, RuiYi president and CEO. “Furthermore, the addition of this molecule accelerates our growth as an early development-stage company in China.”

Based on the IgG repertoire of outbred llamas, the Simple platform can generate human antibodies that modulate the function of any disease target, including complex receptors and highly conserved targets that may prove intractable using other antibody technologies, arGEN-X claims. Lead antibodies can in addition be further optimized using the firm’s Potelligent® technology to enhance cell-killing properties, and NHance™ technology to increase circulation time in the body.

arGEN-X is exploiting its antibody technologies to generate an in-house pipeline, and through collaborations and partnerships. In 2011 the firm inked an alliance with Eli Lilly to discover and develop therapeutic antibodies against Lilly targets. In 2012 arGEN-X and Shire teamed up to discover and develop antibody therapeutics against rare disease targets.

RuiYi is focused on the discovery and development of novel biologics in China, and in particular monoclonal antibodies targeting GPCRs. The firm’s current embodiment, with executive offices in California and a research base in Shanghai, results from the firm’s acquisition by Anaphore in March. The merged entity’s expertise combines Anaphore’s Atrimer protein therapeutics platform, and RuiYi’s iCAPS (intermembranous Conformation Antigen Presenting System) platform for generating conformationally correct, functional transmembrane GPCRs, for the development of antibodies and other biologics.

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