The cell line will be developed using Antitope’s Composite CHO technology, which the company says is able to produce high yields of proteins and antibodies for cGMP manufacture.
Antitope spokesman John Burt told us, "This is a program that has originated at Baylor Institute of Immunology Research, from the group of Gerard Zurawski, with which Antitope have collaborated for a number of years. With Baylor Scott & White's infrastructure to advance programs into clinical studies, clearly that is the objective for the next phase of this research program."
Antitope's system boosts protein expression levels by adding a UTR (untranslated terminal repeat) to the end of the sequence to enhance transcription. The company’s vector system also contains a modified dhfr gene that allows for rapid amplification of vector copy numbers in mammalian cells by methotrexate selection.
Michael Ramsay, President of Baylor Research Institute, added: “As part of the Baylor Scott & White Health system, BIIR can leverage the GMP manufacturing capability of facilities in Temple, Texas – established with funding from Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) – and our system-wide clinical trials infrastructure, to develop products for cancer patients across the globe.”
The current project follows a relationship established several years ago between Antitope, which is a subsidiary of Abzena, and BIIR that applied Antitope’s Composite Human Antibody technology to humanize several novel BIIR antibodies. The humanized antibodies have helped BIIR in the development of its therapeutic vaccines.
This is the latest in a string of successes for Abzena as Polytherics, which is also a subsidiary of Abzena, recently extended its licensing deal with Macrogenics as part of the use of Polytherics’ site-specific cytotoxic conjugation technology. PolyTherics also has a licence agreement with Celtic Pharma Holdings to create long-acting versions of the three major blood factors used to treat haemophilia, as well as an agreement to conjugate Spirogen’s potent pyrrolobenzodiazepine (PBD) cytotoxic agents site-specifically to antibodies and antibody fragments.
Created last month, the Abzena group, which includes PolyTherics and Antitope, seeks to further integrate the companies’ efforts following their combination in July 2013.
Matthew Baker, CSO of the Abzena group and co-founder of Antitope, added: “We are delighted to be working with BIIR again and to have the opportunity to help advance one of its novel therapeutic dendritic-cell-targeting vaccines towards the clinic.”
Gerard Zurawski, co-director of BIIR and director of the Center for Biotechnology at BIIR sounded similarly optimistic and said he anticipates that “the vaccine can now be rapidly advanced to clinical studies.”