New Novozymes subsidiary Albumedix to develop its own drug pipeline says CEO

By Gareth Macdonald

- Last updated on GMT

Albumedix to develop small biobetter pipeline
Albumedix to develop small biobetter pipeline

Related tags Pharmacology Biotechnology

Novozymes’ new subsidiary Albumedix has announced its intention to develop biobetters and says the first candidate could be in Phase I trials by 2019.

Danish industrial biotechnology supplier launched Novozymes Albumedix this week, announcing that the wholly owned subsidiary would take charge of its recombinant albumin business, including its Velits and Recombumin products.

Drugmakers such as Merck & Co​, GSK​ and Serendex​ use Albumedix’s albumin products to stabilize and or extend the half-life of biologics and vaccines.

However, the new firm's plan is to be more than a supplier and develop its own candidates according CEO, Peter Rosholm.

Rosholm told Biophamra-reporter.com that: “Albumedix’s strategy is to develop a small pipeline of drugs that uses our technologies to maximise return on our investment​.”

He did not disclose any specific targets but did say the products are likely to be biobetters.

Biobetters are tweaked versions of existing biopharmaceuticals that improve on the original by having, for example, longer half-lives that allow for reduced dosing.

Knowhow

Developing any biopharmaceutical product, let alone one that is better than an established drug, is a complex challenge that requires considerable expertise which the new firm does not have.

Rosholm acknowledged this and said, in addition to discussing drug targets, Albumedix is also in talks with contract research organisations (CROs) and other external experts.

Albumedix will also hire additional staff to manage and guide the efforts of its contractors.

Rosholm stressed that Albumedix will only develop a small number of drugs, which he said means the firm will not be in direct competition with any of its pharmaceutical customers that license its technologies.

According to Rosholm the first drug candidate could be ready for first-in-man studies by 2019.

Tech development

Another focus for Albumedix will be the development of new versions of its albumin technologies. 

Rosholm cited Veltis as an example, telling us the firm had successfully increased the half-life of the current commercially available protein from 20 days to between 45 and 60 days are ongoing.

He explained that achieving this extension – for which Albumedix has already secured broad IP protection - involved modifying the 500 amino acid long protein by changing the genes that encode it.

Rosholm declined to go into more details, but did disclose that the new versions of the protein have longer half-lives because they have a stronger interaction with binding proteins.

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