Kyowa Hakko establishes US antibody company

Japanese biotechnology and pharmaceutical company Kyowa Hakko Kogyo Co. has established a wholly owned US subsidiary, BioWa based in Princeton, New Jersey, to pursue development and commercialisation of its biological technologies and businesses, particularly those relating to monoclonal antibodies.

Japanese biotechnology and pharmaceutical company Kyowa Hakko Kogyo Co. has established a wholly owned US subsidiary, BioWa based in Princeton, New Jersey, to pursue development and commercialisation of its biological technologies and businesses, particularly those relating to monoclonal antibodies.

Kyowa Hakko's Potelligent technology is the result of breakthrough research into methods for enhancing Antibody-Dependent Cellular Cytotoxicity (ADCC). Kyowa's researchers have determined that ADCC activity is significantly increased by reducing fucose, a sugar chain naturally present in antibodies. By enabling creation of low fucose antibodies, Potelligent technology dramatically increases the potency and efficacy of antibodies. The application of the technology to anti-tumour antibodies increases their potency by at least 100 times compared with that of existing antibodies. In addition to increasing therapeutic effectiveness, the heightened potency will enable physicians to effectively treat a larger population of patients using smaller doses, reduced side effects and treatment costs.

The company claims that Potelligent technology can be applied to many existing pharmaceuticals and antibody agents, broadening the spectrum of applications and potentially slashing production costs to as little as 1% of present costs. Furthermore, it can produce high ADCC activity antibodies using conventional production methods and cell lines, says Kyowa Hakko.

'Our mission is to harness the enormous potential of biotechnology to create innovative cancer and allergy therapies,' said Dr Tadashi Hirata, president and ceo of Kyowa Hakko. 'We have already begun Phase I and Phase II clinical trials in the US for the monoclonal antibody KW-2871 against malignant melanoma, and have several candidate compounds for antibody medicines in the pre-clinical phase.'