OncoMed has used the patented technology, known as MAbTrap, to identify and optimize novel antibodies, including proprietary antibodies, and demonstrated the activity of these antibodies in preclinical studies.
Austin Gurney, PhD, VP of OncoMed’s Molecular and Cellular Biology, explained to Bio-Pharmareporter.com that the technology enables “the isolation of specific antibodies with desired characteristics from very very large libraries of antibodies displayed on cellular membranes. It can utilize mammalian cells, unlike other technologies that have often utilized bacterial phage viruses, or yeast.”
The new patent relates to methods of producing libraries of cells that express membrane-bound antibodies or other specific binding agents on their surface, and methods of identifying the cells in such libraries that express an antibody or other agent having the desired binding characteristics.
“One particular strength of this technology is in enabling the development of bispecific antibodies where the two arms of the antibody share a common light chain,” Gurney added. “Bispecific antibodies are now a hot area in biotechnology as the ability to bind two distinct targets enables very unique therapeutic strategies.”
He also noted that the technology “really shines in circumstances where one desires an antibody with finely-tuned attributes, such as the ability to bind to several select members of a multi-gene family, or the ability of the mAb to bind to a target in several different species (which can greatly facilitate preclinical evaluation).”
Related patent applications are currently pending in the US, Europe, Japan, China and other countries worldwide. To date, the company has “not looked to license this technology. However, OncoMed is potentially open to exploring opportunities that capitalize on the broad utility of the MAbTrap technology,” he added.
The race to develop new mAbs has sped up in recent years with more companies using unique platforms to discover them. Pfizer and Shire are two recent examples of such sponsors looking to new technologies.