Rise of Yeast-Based MAb Tech as Adimab Inks Two More Deals

By Dan Stanton

- Last updated on GMT

Celgene and Innovent sign up to Adimab's yeast-based MAb discovery tech
Celgene and Innovent sign up to Adimab's yeast-based MAb discovery tech

Related tags Antibody Immune system

Adimab says it is cornering the market with its yeast-based monoclonal antibody (MAb) technology after inking another two discovery collaborations.

The New Hampshire, US based company announced yesterday it has added Celgene and Innovent to its growing list of clients in deals that will see the firm use its proprietary platform to identify fully human therapeutic antibodies against specific targets.

Speaking with Biopharma-Reporter.com, CEO Tillman Gerngross said it was possible to assess the industry’s access to antibody discovery technologies over the past five years by the number of collaborations made with firms like Adimab.

“I would say Adimab has probably taken 80% of the entire market in terms of number of deals,”​ he said, “but probably more than that in terms of economics as we are the high quality provider not the low cost provider.”

“Since launching the platform in 2009, we’re announcing on average 4 partnerships a year,” ​he added, with early up-takers expanding their partnerships, as was the case with Biogen last month​ who took the technology in-house. “In a way we have cornered the market at this point.”

Adimab’s fully human antibody library can be screened to identify large numbers of Immunoglobulin G antibody isotopes (IgGs) – the most abundant antibody isotype found in the circulation with two antigen binding sites - specific to a particular target, according to the company.

“The main differentiating characteristic is that we use a yeast based approach to presenting our libraries,”​ said Gerngross. “Yeast inherently filters out stuff that doesn’t behave well as a protein so the yeast system allows us to filter for ‘the good stuff’ at the expense of antibodies that have the tendency of aggregating, or the dependency of having solubility issues or poor half-life.”

Though there are some other companies that use a yeast-based platform, in terms of competition Gerngross said: “We’ve never seen any data that would convince us to use them as anything serious.”

Adimab has “typically top 20 pharma” ​on its books, he said, who nearly all have access to standard antibody discovery tech using mice or rabbits, as well as access to traditional phage technologies.

However “they are still coming to us,” ​he continued, as “most of the projects we get are projects where traditional approaches have failed. We are consistently announcing milestones which mean we have been consistently successful in these partnerships.”


The new deals will see Adimab scientists using the tech to discover antibodies on behalf of Celgene and Innovent, which contrasts with agreements the firm has with GlaxoSmithKline​ and Biogen Idec which both chose to use the yeast-based platform in house.

Some firms prefer Adimab to discover antibodies internally, Gerngross said, whilst others are now opting, with training from Adimab, “to bring this technology in house and do the entire discovery themselves.”

Speaking to this publication at the time, Melinda Stubbee from GSK said: “We are internalizing the platform and there will be very active collaboration between the two companies… Adimab has an extensive training program which is anticipated to last 2 months.”

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