BioWorld International Correspondent

PARIS Synt:em signed a research agreement with Baxter Healthcare Corp. for the development of mimetics of the binding regions of selected proprietary monoclonal antibodies of therapeutic interest.

Synt:em, of N mes, France, will use its proprietary Para:mim technology to design such mimetics, consisting of small peptides exhibiting binding and activity similar to that of monoclonal antibodies developed by Baxter, a Deerfield, Ill., company focused on the development of products to treat blood diseases of all kinds. The financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Synt:em CEO Michel Kaczorek told BioWorld International that this was “one of the best collaboration agreements” the company had concluded to date and could prove to be the largest. He added that the first stage of the collaboration, the design of one monoclonal antibody, would be completed this year and would give rise to the “renewal and enlargement” of the deal.

Kaczorek also pointed out that this is the first commercial exploitation of Para:mim, which Synt:em started developing three years ago and has already been validated in two in-house trials on antibodies in which it successfully designed peptides mimicking monoclonal antibody binding sites. The technology was developed for the specific purpose of designing small peptides that are mimetics of the binding sites of monoclonal antibodies, and is based on Synt:em’s proprietary Acti:map computational predictive platform for rational drug design.

The company points out that, while monoclonal antibodies have growing potential as therapeutics, their use in certain applications can be limited by their large size. The collaboration with Baxter will exploit the fact that Synt:em’s mimetics generate the desired therapeutic effect despite the fact that they represent only a small part of the monoclonal antibody’s antigen-binding site (30 to 40 amino acids instead of about 1,200).

Synt:em is specialized in the development of novel medicines for the treatment of diseases of the central nervous system, and Kaczorek stressed that the collaboration with Baxter “highlights our capabilities outside our primary area of interest.” It also was proof of the “high potential of our pharma-informatics platform Acti:map for a whole range of applications,” he said.