Ablynx and Spirogen to evaluate toxin-nanobody drug conjugates

Published: 25-Feb-2013

Will combine Spirogen pyrrolobenzodiazepines with Ablynx nanobodies

Ablynx has announced a research collaboration with UK firm Spirogen to evaluate the potential of a novel anti-cancer drug conjugate combining Spirogen's proprietary cytotoxic drugs, pyrrolobenzodiazepines (PBD) with nanobodies generated using Ablynx's proprietary technology.

Under the terms of the collaboration, Ablynx will provide access to novel nanobodies against a specific, undisclosed cancer target, while Spirogen will provide access to its proprietary cytotoxic warheads (PBDs) and conjugation technologies. Both companies will contribute their resources towards the collaboration, which is expected to last for up to a year initially.

Following this feasibility phase, Ablynx will have the option either to in-license Spirogen's technology or, in collaboration with Spirogen, move development forward with a third party.

No financial or other details have been disclosed.

Dr Andreas Menrad, Chief Scientific Officer of Belgium-based Ablynx, said: ‘We are very pleased to be working with Spirogen to discover and develop novel cancer therapeutics based on both companies' proprietary technologies. Our nanobodies have the potential to selectively and efficiently deliver Spirogen's PBD drugs to the site of the tumour.’

Dr Chris Martin, Chief Executive of Spirogen, added: ‘The collaboration with Ablynx is designed to evaluate the potential of a nanobody to act as the targeting molecule for the PBD warhead, which is released once it is inside the cancer cell. These warheads have the potential to be extremely potent without distorting the DNA helix thus avoiding mechanisms that lead to tumours becoming resistant to other anti-cancer drugs.’

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