Evotec AG and 4-Antibody AG announced the signing of a strategic collaboration agreement under which Evotec will offer a fully integrated antibody discovery and development service. Evotec’s novel and unique high throughput and high content screening approach coupled with 4-Antibody’s high throughput antibody selection approach will now allow screening of large and diverse antibody populations for desired functionality and activity at a much earlier stage of selection. This unique combined approach is expected to substantially reduce attrition rates at later development stages and is also expected to be particularly beneficial in aiding earlier distinction and selection between antagonist and agonist antibodies.
Evotec’s fully integrated drug discovery and development infrastructure has been adapted to facilitate screening of human antibody populations in combination with high throughput/high content screening coupled to specific biological assays. The new collaboration integrates the output from 4-Antibody’s proprietary high throughput in vitro Retrocyte Display technology for rapid discovery of fully human antibodies into Evotec’s high throughput cell-based assay platform.
The Retrocyte Display technology (Retroviral B lymphocyte Display) is a high throughput cellular antibody expression platform which allows expression and screening of full-length immunoglobulin antibody libraries in mammalian B-lineage cells for the identification of antigen-specific fully human monoclonal antibodies. B-lineage cells are designed by nature for optimal antibody display, and are capable of generating ‘better-behaved’, fully human antibodies.
Dr Robert Burns, 4-Antibody’s CEO, said: “This [collaboration] will allow pharma players who elect to fully out-source antibody drug discovery access to our platform. It’s an ideal partnership since it gives 4-Antibody access to a broader market beyond our primary targets – the companies we think of as ‘technology internalizers’. Our primary business model remains unchanged but with the Evotec collaboration we can now offer a fully integrated discovery to development model in the antibody drug space for pharma players who are looking for complete out-sourcing. Everyone in the drug discovery space understands the desirability of introducing functional testing as early as possible in the selection of drug candidates but I don’t see other service providers who can offer this fully integrated high throughput capability in the antibody drug space.”
Dr Werner Lanthaler, CEO at Evotec added: “We are excited to launch our high-content screening capabilities for antibody selection in conjunction with 4-Antibody, one of the technological leaders in the antibody field. Through a combination of our capabilities, we target an approach to select for functional antibodies. This “EVOmAb” turn-key solution will deliver to our customers a much higher chance to bring an antibody to the market than traditional affinity-selected antibody approaches.”
Both parties agreed to share financial rewards of this approach. Evotec will initially pay a €2 million access fee to 4-Antibody, which will be fully reimbursed from future returns. Going forward the parties will share profits.
Date: May 14, 2012
Source: Evotec AG
Filed Under: Drug Discovery