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Abzena Signs Cancer Research Pact with Tmunity Therapeutics

09.20.18

Abzena will humanize monoclonal antibodies using its Composite Human Antibody technology

Abzena has signed an antibody humanization agreement with Tmunity Therapeutics, a clinical stage T cell therapy company and a developer of new Chimeric Antigen Receptor T Cell (CAR-T) therapies for the treatment of solid and hematological cancers.
 
Abzena will humanize monoclonal antibodies using its Composite Human Antibody technology. This technology combines humanization and deimmunization technologies to generate fully-humanized therapeutic antibodies devoid of CD4+ T cell epitopes.
 
Tmunity will use the humanized antibodies to develop CAR-T engineered products. CAR-T therapy is an innovative therapeutic form of personalized medicine in which a patient’s own T-cells are genetically modified to express an antigen recognizing CAR on the surface of the T cell. When the CAR-T encounters a cancer cell expressing the cognate antigen, the CAR-T is activated releasing cytokines that kill the cancer cell. CAR-T therapies have been successfully developed for the treatment of hematological cancers, a success that Tmunity is seeking to duplicate in solid tumors and other hematological malignancies.
 
The research and license agreement between Abzena and Tmunity also includes developability assessment to assess for any potential sequence liabilities that would affect quality of the product and EpiScreen, Abzena’s ex-vivo immunogenicity assessment platform.
 
Under the terms of the license agreement Abzena will also be due milestone payments should products containing any of the humanized antibody sequences reach IND acceptance.
 
“We are delighted to be working with such an innovative organization as Tmunity, to use our Composite Human Antibody platform to help design superior CARs for their CAR-T products,” said Campbell Bunce, senior vice president, scientific operations, Abzena. “We believe that reducing the risk of immunogenicity of the receptor will contribute to a reduced risk profile for this exciting and potent treatment for cancer. Innovative use of our proprietary technology for an emerging and revolutionary drug platform like CAR-T, and utilization of our protein engineering, immunology and bioanalytics expertise, is a great example of our ability to provide world-class support to our partners.”