Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Five Prime steps up search for monoclonal antibodies

Published in Drug Discovery News

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.—Seeking to continue, and accelerate, its work developing new protein therapeutics for cancer and inflammatory diseases, Five Prime Therapeuticshas made an agreement with Adimab of Lebanon, N.H., that will help discover monoclonal antibodies for cancer immunotherapy. Five Prime also recently closed its initial public offering, raising $43 million.
Under the terms of the Adimab deal, which marks the first time the companies have worked together, Five Prime will identify potential targets for development as therapeutic candidates and send them to Adimab for discovering and optimizing the corresponding fully human antibodies.
Five Prime will then develop and commercialize those antibodies, with Adimab receiving not only payment for each target campaign, but also potential milestone payments and royalties, according to a news release from the company. Specific financial details were not disclosed.
“Working with Adimab, we will be generating antibody products to targets of our choosing, and these could become clinical candidates for Five Prime’s proprietary pipeline,” Five Prime Chief Business Officer Aron Knickerbocker told DDNews in an email.
Five Prime has “a library of over 5,700 extracellular proteins (ligands and receptors),” Knickerbocker wrote. “We believe these include substantially all medically important protein drug targets, including many proteins not in public domain.”
Five Prime can produce “thousands of proteins weekly,” from which it screens “novel protein therapeutics and antibody targets,” Knickerbocker wrote.
From there, Adimab will use its library of fully human whole immunoglobulin-G molecules (IgCs), and its technology that rapidly identifies appropriate matches, returning results to Five Prime. While Knickerbocker declined to talk about project timelines, Adimab’s website says its usual turnaround from target receipt to return of purified, whole IgGs is eight weeks.
That includes screening more than 10 billion IgGs from its various libraries; past results have “generated large numbers of fully human IgGs (100s up to 1000s) to all targets screened to date,” Adimab’s website says.
“Working with Adimab will allow us to generate fully human monoclonal antibodies to our targets of interest,” said Knickerbocker.
The advantages of being able to test with full antibodies are significant. Unlike the more commonly used antigen fragments, whole IgGs are capable of cross-linking receptors, as well as sterically blocking interactions.
Less than a month after announcing that agreement, and highlighting its progressing collaboration with British pharma giant GlaxoSmithKline developing FP-1039 (GSK3052230), a fibroblast growth factor ligand trap targeting multiple solid tumors, Five Prime also grossed $43,125,000 in its initial public offering of 3.4 million shares of common stock. The company trades on the NASDAQ exchange, with symbol FPRX.