Kymab and Heptares collaborate for immuno-oncology project

Monoclonal antibody pharma company Kymab has announced a collaboration with Sosei subsidiary Heptares Therapeutics to develop immuno-oncology drugs.

The companies will combine their expertise to discover and develop new G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR)-targeted antibody therapies.

Heptares’ StaR platform will produce antigens known to be targeted by GPCRs, while Kymab’s Kymouse platform will create human antibodies in response to immunisation with the antigens.

Kymab CEO David Chiswell said: “Our collaboration with Heptares will allow us to combine stable antigens based on multiple GPCR targets with our world-class Kymouse platform, which has unparalleled diversity and will therefore rapidly identify and yield highly selective potent human monoclonal antibodies for unmet medical needs.”

Malcolm Weir, chairman and CEO of Heptares, remarked on the current lack of legitimate GPCR-targeted biologics, resulting from GPCRs being “intractable targets for antibody discovery”.

“We believe that our proven StaR technology can unlock this substantial opportunity, not just in immuno-oncology but also across other therapeutic areas where GPCR-targeted biologics could have a significant impact. By entering into strategic collaborations with companies with world-leading antibody discovery technologies, such as Kymab, we have the potential to discover, develop and commercialise a highly valuable pipeline of new biologic products.”

GPCRs are a superfamily of 375 receptors that have been linked with roles in a wide range of diseases when mutated. Aside from cancer, mutated GPCRs have been linked with inherited disorders such as retinitis pigmentosa, hypo/hyperthyroidism and even some fertility disorders.

Heptares intends to use the StaR platform to develop biologics across multiple disorders, with several drugs in the pipeline, including drugs for Alzheimer’s disease and schizophrenia (seen in the three muscarinic receptor agonists in development with Allergan), migraine (in joint-development with Teva) and some forms of addiction.

Prior to Sosei’s acquisition of Heptares in February 2015, its platform had resulted in more than $30 million in payments and royalties through collaborations with other pharma companies.

In August 2015, AstraZeneca’s MedImmune subsidiary acquired the exclusive rights to Heptares’ adenosine A2A receptor antagonist HTL-2071.

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