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14 April, 2011 - 10:40 By Kate Sweeney

Sydney-Cambridge antibody alliance

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An exciting collaboration between Cambridge-based Antitope and Cellmid in Sydney promises to deliver a drug candidate to fight auto immune diseases and cancer.

The alliance is expected to deliver a drug candidate, a first in class humanised anti-midkine antibody, using Cellmid’s patented sequence and Antitope’s proprietary EpiScreen™ and Composite Human Antibody™ technologies.

Babraham-based Antitope has already completed the interim milestone of producing a chimeric anti-midkine antibody – significantly reducing the technical risks of the collaboration. The selection of the fully humanised lead is scheduled for Q3 2011.

Antitope will also produce sufficient humanised antibody for preclinical testing using its proprietary, high yielding CHO expression system. Pre-clinical testing of the humanised drug candidate in several disease models is anticipated to start in Q4 2011.

Midkine is a potent pro-inflammatory molecule contributing to disease in a number of inflammatory and autoimmune disorders and cancers. In preclinical studies Cellmid’s anti-midkine antibodies have reduced symptoms of inflammation by sequestering circulating midkine in the blood.

It is anticipated that a humanised anti-midkine antibody will be a potent modulator of inflammation and autoimmunity and may contribute to the treatment of a number of diseases.

Cellmid’s lead will be humanised by Antitope using the Composite Human AntibodyTM technology. This is a proven platform for rapid generation of non-immunogenic, fully humanised candidates, with similar or better binding affinities than the template antibody.

Additionally, Antitope’s technology is clear of all the dominant patents in the humanisation space, thus avoiding the need for Cellmid to pay royalties to third parties.

“We have conducted an extensive global search to find the right humanisation partner for our anti-midkine assets. Antitope’s technical pedigree placed them on the top of our preferred humanisation experts,” said Cellmid CEO, Maria Halasz.

Dr Matthew Baker, chief scientific officer and co-founder of Antitope, added: “We are excited about the prospects for Cellmid’s therapeutic antibody against midkine and believe the development of fully humanised, non-immunogenic Composite Human Antibodies will support the development of safe and effective therapies.”

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