Zydus Cadila and Pieris to collaborate on anticalin development

Collaboration combines Pieris’s drug discovery and early development capabilities with Zydus’s expertise in biologics development, regulatory affairs and biologics manufacturing

Ahmedabad-based Zydus Cadila, a company that discovers, develops, manufactures and markets a broad range of healthcare products, has entered into an aliiance with Germany-based therapeutic protein research and development company Pieris for the development and commercialisation of multiple novel anticalin-based protein therapeutics.

Anticalins are artificially synthesised proteins that are capable of binding to antigens or to small molecules in the body. These moieties are neither structurally nor functionally related to antibodies, and thus could be termed as antibody mimetics.

The recombinant anticalin design is similar to lipocalins, which are present in humans. Anticalins are low molecular weight peptides that can bind to substrates or receptors and bring about an altered beneficial immune response. They are gaining popularity due to their stable nature and a comparatively low molecular weight as opposed to antibodies.

The collaboration combines Pieris’s drug discovery and early development capabilities with Zydus’s expertise in biologics development, regulatory affairs and biologics manufacturing.

Under the terms of the agreement, the Indian company would take the lead in advancing anticalin drug candidates through formal preclinical development and into clinical development, undertaking drug development in accordance with ICH guidelines. Zydus has been granted exclusive marketing rights in India and several other emerging markets, while Pieris retains exclusive marketing rights in key developed markets.

'Collaborating with established biotech companies on differentiated drug candidates is an important component of Zydus’s ongoing transformation, and we are pleased to add anticalins to our novel biologics pipeline,' said Pankaj Patel, Chairman, Zydus Group.

The most advanced programme in the collaboration is PRS-110, an anticalin specific for c-Met, a target becoming increasingly validated across a broad spectrum of tumours. PRS-110, which is a pure antagonist due to its monovalent target engagement, has demonstrated the ability to inhibit both ligand-dependent and independent c-Met activity in a variety of animal models.

Through this unique collaborative model, the companies seek to develop candidates to proof of concept and would explore out licensing opportunities in Pieris’s territories. The companies are to share licensing revenues on mutually agreed upon terms.

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