Research will focus on protein therapeutics based on trivalent protein platform.

Tanabe Research Laboratories is teaming up with Anaphore for an R&D program that aims to develop protein therapeutics for autoimmune diseases based on the latter’s Atrimer™ technology. The aim is to generate trivalent Atrimer proteins targeting autoimmune disorders including rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, and psoriasis.

Anaphore’s Atrimer technology is based on the human trivalent plasma protein tetranectin, which exhibits three binding domains. Each of these comprises five distinct amino-acid loops that can be programmed to bind potently and specifically to virtually any target of interest, Anaphore claims. Although the target will typically be a cell-surface receptor or ligand protein with a trimeric structure, the Atrimer technology also enables the design of candidates directed to nontrimeric targets including carbohydrates, the firm adds.

Anaphore’s existing pipeline comprises preclinical Atrimer and aptamer-drug conjugate candidates in development for the potential treatment of inflammatory disease and cancer. Lead candidate ATX3105 is an IL-23 receptor antagonist in development for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease, psoriasis, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis. Anaphore claims preclinical studies have shown ATX3105 demonstrates potent and selective inhibition of the downstream IL-23 pathway.

Established in 1990, Tanabe Research Laboratories is a U.S. subsidiary of Japan’s Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma. The firm was initially focused on small molecule drug discovery in the field of metabolics and inflammation/immunology. However, a restructuring earlier in 2010 means it is now dedicated to the development of antibodies and biologics for the treatment of autoimmune diseases. In June Tanabe Research started operations at its new facility in San Diego.


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