Adagene Inc. has announced a research collaboration with Sanofi SA, to find “masked” monoclonal and bispecific antibodies that are safer than marketed drugs in oncology, in a deal worth up to $2.5 billion plus royalties. San Diego and Suzhou, China-based Adagene will generate masked versions of Sanofi antibodies, taking responsibility for early stage research activities using its Safebody technology. Sanofi will be responsible for later-stage research and all clinical, product development and marketing activities.
Researchers at Inserm have developed a method to direct pre-existing antibodies toward new targets. Their bimodular fusion proteins could be a broadly useful method for expanding access to antibody therapy. In a study that appeared in the Feb. 11, 2022, issue of Science Advances, the teams showed that antibodies to Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), which are present in 95% of the global population, could be redirected to a target cell of their choosing by fusing an EBV antigen to a cellular targeting ligand.
Mabwell Bioscience Co. Ltd. raised ¥3.48 billion ($547.9 million) in a Shanghai STAR Market IPO on Jan. 18 to support company R&D efforts and plans to build an antibody production plant. Though oversubscribed, the offering got a cool market reception, with shares plunging nearly 30% from a ¥32 open (US$27.96), then closing at ¥24.50 on the first day of trading before recovering slightly to ¥27.40 on Jan. 20.
Targeting the toxic alpha-synuclein protein found in the brains of people with Parkinson’s is one of the most promising approaches to treat the disease in the clinic – but getting any drug into the brain is a challenge. Sanofi SA has joined with ABL Bio Inc. to solve this problem, in-licensing ABL-301, a preclinical bispecific antibody that locks on to misfolded alpha-synuclein but also includes a molecular “shuttle” that allows it to penetrate the blood-brain barrier.
Aridis Pharmaceuticals Inc. is one of two companies posting COVID-19 data just days before Christmas. Its fully human monoclonal antibody cocktail, AR-701, was shown to be broadly reactive against COVID-19 variants, including Omicron, in preclinical research. Moderna Inc. also posted new data that showed preliminary neutralizing data against Omicron following 50-mg doses of its vaccine, which is currently authorized, and 100-mg dose boosters, which increased neutralizing antibody levels 83-fold from the pre-boost levels.
Tentarix Biotherapeutics LP broke cover with $50 million in series A funding to take forward an industrialized flow cytometry platform that enables it to screen rapidly for multifunctional antibody-based drugs.
Cambridge, U.K.-based Astrazeneca plc has new data from its long-acting COVID-19 antibody combination, AZD-7442, which aims to provide longer protection, potentially for up to a year. Latest data show the intramuscularly injected drug achieved a statistically significant reduction in severe COVID-19 or death compared to placebo in non-hospitalized patients with mild to moderate symptomatic disease.
Brii Biosciences Ltd. shared interim data from a phase III trial of its neutralizing monoclonal antibody (mAb) combination therapy for SARS-CoV-2, BRII-196 and BRII-198, that showed a 78% reduction in the risk of hospitalization or death in patients receiving single dose of the cocktail.
With the U.S. logging more than 4 million new COVID-19 cases in the past few weeks, federal purchasing of antibody cocktails from Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Eli Lilly and Co. is continuing to grow. The government has placed orders for $2.94 billion worth of Regeneron's REGEN-COV (casirivimab and imdevimab) and about $330 million of Lilly's etesevimab to complement doses of bamlanivimab it previously purchased. Both antibody combinations, approved under FDA emergency use authorizations (EUAs), have been shown to reduce risk of hospitalization or death from COVID-19.
Delivering antibodies in the form of their DNA could enable their therapeutic use under several circumstances where traditional antibodies fall short. One of those is resource-poor settings where the current cost of antibodies makes them a nonstarter. Perhaps the largest opportunity to expand antibody use in such settings is for HIV, where broadly neutralizing antibodies have the potential to be the next best thing to a vaccine or a cure – if they can be made to last, for cheap.