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ARM Innovation Hub
31 July, 2017 - 12:15 By Tony Quested

Kymab antibody could counter side effects of bone marrow transplants

kymab, hiv, antibody vaccine, cambridge

Cambridge antibody specialist Kymab is scaling the dosing of autoimmune disease sufferers with a novel human antibody therapeutic in what the company describes as a potentially transformational milestone programme.

The KY1005 therapeutic has successfully completed dosing of the 24th subject in its first clinical study in what CEO Dr David Chiswell says will be “a steady stream of clinical trials.”

US medics concluded after trials that the antibody could counter potentially fatal side effects of some bone marrow transplants.

“The potential of KY1005 is such that, on its own, it could treat a number of immune and inflammatory disorders. We are confident that this will be the first of several trials on this antibody alone,” said Dr Chiswell.

Autoimmune diseases affect up to 50 million Americans. The American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association says there are over 80 types of autoimmune disease, including graft-versus-host-disease, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, multiple sclerosis, lupus and inflammatory bowel diseases, such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. 

Kymab says that current treatments for these diseases tend to suppress the immune system on a broad basis, leading to significant side effects. One of the potential advantages of KY1005 is that it has the potential to be a more targeted treatment.

Kymab CTO and co-founder Professor Allan Bradley (pictured above) said KY1005 had already shown outstanding preclinical results in a project led by Dr Leslie Kean, associate director of the Ben Towne Center for Childhood Cancer Research at Seattle Children's Research Institute. 

The results were published in a poster presentation at the American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting in San Diego in 2016.

The experiments demonstrated that KY1005 anti-OX40L antibody has an important role in treating immune diseases. The research showed that KY1005 dampened the exaggerated immune response that causes acute GvHD – a common and potentially deadly complication of bone marrow transplants. 

Most strikingly, when combined with an established, yet on its own insufficient, therapy to prevent acute GvHD, KY1005 completely prevented signs of acute GvHD. 

Dr Kean described the results as “unprecedented for a prophylactic approach to controlling disease following bone marrow transplant.”

Professor Bradley said: “Since our foundation only seven years ago, we have generated a number of best-in-class drug candidates using our exquisite antibody platform, which we developed to contain the entire repertoire of human antibodies, making it the most comprehensive antibody development platform available.

“To now have our first antibody firmly on its clinical development pathway, with a rich pipeline of future products following, is a significant milestone and a testament to the unique qualities of the antibody drugs produced by our proprietary antibody platform as well as the performance of the Kymab team in progressing them rapidly through development and into the clinic.”

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