Janssen and Novozymes: toxic drugs could change from daily to monthly

By Fiona BARRY

- Last updated on GMT

Janssen and Novozymes: toxic drugs could change from daily to monthly

Related tags: Protein, Amino acid

Janssen has asked Novozymes Biopharma to help it reduce drug dosage “from daily to every two weeks or monthly” using its half-life extension technology.

Veltis is a platform of engineered human albumins owned by Novozymes Biopharma, a division of Novozymes A/S. It was previously known as Recombumin Flex​.

Novozymes says when combined with peptide and protein drugs it will change their pharmacokinetics, allowing adjustable control of a medicine’s half-life.

Decreasing medicines’ dose frequency to once-weekly, once every two weeks, or once-monthly intervals would bring the benefits of “stricter patient adherence​” and “reduced toxicity​,” said the company.

Novozymes Biopharma’s Strategic Marketing Director Dermot Pearson told Biopharma-Reporter.com the company was contributing its Veltis technology to the partnerships, as well as “the construction of the expression cassette to make the fusion protein between the engineered albumin and the Janssen product.​” Novozymes will also perform process development and manufacturing for the project.

Toxic therapies​ 

The platform could theoretically be applied to any peptide or protein by genetic fusion or chemical conjugation to the albumin moiety, said Pearson. “It is most likely to be useful in chronic diseases, where patients self-administer, or where therapies are toxic and binding to albumin allows a lower dose that persists for longer and consequently delivers an improved therapeutic benefit. 

We are also exploring the application of the technology to vaccines and small molecule oncology drugs.​”

The science behind the technology uses discoveries about the interaction of albumin and its natural cell surface receptor which accounts for the native protein’s 19 day half-life.

Novozymes and its partners, including Almac, use selective substitution of a limited number of amino acid residues to alter the half-life of these modified albumins, either by genetic fusion or chemical conjugation. 

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