BioWorld International Correspondent

PARIS - MAT BioPharma and the Pierre Fabre Research Institute (IRPF) began a collaboration for developing new monoclonal antibodies in cancer. The financial terms were not disclosed.

MAT BioPharma is to develop a bank of monoclonal antibodies and apply its high-throughput screening platform to identify the antibodies that interact with Pierre Fabre targets.

The highest affinity antibodies will be validated as therapeutic agents in a variety of cell-based phenotypic assays. IRPF, which is the research and development arm of the pharmaceutical company Pierre Fabre Group, of Castre, France, will use the bank to broaden its repertoire of antibodies for the development of antibody-based cancer therapeutics.

Describing the MAT antibody platform as "remarkable," the research and development director of Pierre Fabre, Jacques Kusmierek, said it would enable the company to "expand, strengthen and speed up its early cancer antibody discovery programs." He added that in addition to the cancer cytotoxic drugs it has on the market, Pierre Fabre had built up a "successful portfolio of targeted anticancer drugs including kinase inhibitors and monoclonal antibodies, such as F50035 targeting the IGF1 receptor."

MAT BioPharma, which was originally known as MAT Biotech, was founded in 2000 and is based at the Genopole biotechnology science and business park at Evry, south of Paris. Its lead product embodies a first-generation, polyclonal antibody, Yttrium 90 (human anti-ferritin IgG), which MAT is developing for Hodgkin’s disease - it was granted orphan drug status in that indication in Europe in 2003.

It also has developed and patented second-generation, anti-ferritin monoclonal antibodies, which could increase significantly the number of cancer patients benefiting from radio-immunotherapy, including those with liver cancer or adenoma carcinoma of the pancreas. In addition, the company is developing anti-ED8 monoclonal antibodies for the treatment of breast cancer and new therapeutic antibodies that link to the surface differentiation antigen CD44 to reverse the blockage of cell differentiation in acute myeloid leukemia.

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