RQ Bio launches to develop therapies based on broad-spectrum mAbs

By Rachel Arthur contact

- Last updated on GMT

Pic:getty/naeblys
Pic:getty/naeblys

Related tags: Astrazeneca, Monoclonal antibodies, COVID-19, Uk

RQ Biotechnology is launching as a new UK-based biotech: following the completion of a successful licensing deal with AstraZeneca for early-stage monoclonal antibodies targeted against SARS-CoV-2.

Led by former Sanofi executive Hugo Fry as CEO, RQ Bio will be dedicated to developing treatments and preventative therapies based on potent broad-spectrum mAbs for vulnerable people at risk from existing, emerging or new viral threats.

It launches with funding from the licensing deal with AstraZeneca on COVID-19, receiving upfront and milestone payments of up to $157m as well as eligibility to receive single digit royalties on sales. AstraZeneca gains an exclusive worldwide licence to develop, manufacture and commercialise the mAbs against SARS-CoV-2.

"Our vision is to build on our successful debut with neutralising antibody therapy for SARS-CoV-2 and develop innovative medicines to address current and evolving unmet needs in other viral infectious diseases,"​ said Hugo Fry, CEO of RQ Bio. "By combining our expertise and innovative excellence in core areas we have created a smarter approach to antibody generation making us uniquely positioned to deliver fast patient impact."

COVID-19 and beyond: Developing mAbs

Based in London, RQ Bio’s founders were brought together in March 2020 when the BioIndustry Association (BIA) formed the UK BIA Antibody taskforce, a consortium of biotech companies, academia and charities, to identify and develop neutralising antibodies to protect at-risk groups and avoid lockdowns.

Key appointments for the biotech include:

  • Hugo Fry, CCO at Imbria and former Sanofi Executive, as CEO;
  • Mike Westby, co-founder of RQ Bio, CSO of Centauri Therapeutics and former Pfizer R&D Executive, remains a key Scientific Advisor
  • Paul Kellam, co-founder of RQ Bio, Professor of Virus Genomics at Imperial College London and Vice President of Infectious Diseases & Vaccines at Kymab UK, remains a key Scientific Advisor
  • Jane Osbourn OBE, co-founder of RQ Bio, CSO of Alchemab and previous Chair of the BIA, remains a key Scientific Advisor

The company will continue to be supported by its collaborations with its scientific co-founders, the University of Oxford and leading UK medical research charity LifeArc. Professor Gavin Screaton, Head of the Medical Sciences Division at the University of Oxford, will continue to advise in his capacity as scientific and medical co-founder, as will Clare Terlouw, Head of LifeArc Ventures and UK BIA board member, as a member of the Board of Directors.

Related topics: Bio Developments

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