Antibody engineering firm Fairjourney Biologics is teaming up with the Rappaport Institute's tech transfer firm BioRap Technologies and Israel-based company Hadasit Medical Research Services and Development to develop antibodies against the anticancer target heparanase. Per the research and option agreement, Fairjourney will develop a panel of antibodies using phage display to tackle multiple epitopes of heparanase, while BioRap will perform the in vitro and in vivo proof of concept. Fairjourney also has an option to develop the antibody-drug candidates on an exclusive basis.
Heparanase (endo-β-D-glucuronidase), which the firms say is the sole functional enzyme responsible for degradation and remodeling of the extracellular matrix, was discovered as a target for anticancer therapy by Israel Vlodavsky, Ph.D., a cancer research scientist at the Rappaport Institute and Hadassah Medical Center. Tumor growth, angiogenesis, and metastasis are just some of the processes where abnormal expression of heparanase has been found.
“After an outstanding track record developing new therapeutic antibodies to partners, it’s time for the company to also have assets,” Fairjourney's CEO António Parada said in a statement. “This move will foster value creation and secure broader services from our clients, by demonstrating our capability to deliver more comprehensively on the value chain.”