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Vaccinex collaboration with Surface Oncology to employ ActivMAb technology
by Mel J. Yeates  |  Email the author


ROCHESTER, N.Y.—Vaccinex, Inc., a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing therapeutic monoclonal antibodies to treat patients with cancer and neurodegenerative diseases, announces a research collaboration and license option agreement it has entered into with Surface Oncology, Inc. Vaccinex and Surface Oncology will conduct a research program utilizing Vaccinex’s proprietary antibody discovery platform, ActivMAb, to discover and select monoclonal antibodies to two undisclosed targets.  Surface Oncology will have the option to obtain exclusive worldwide rights to antibodies discovered during the research program.
ActivMAb is an antibody discovery platform that enables efficient mammalian cell based expression of a library of human antibodies in full length IgG format on the surface of both a mammalian virus and cell.  The platform combines the advantages of virus panning and cell sorting into one seamless selection process.  This technology enables the rapid selection of >1010 antibody combinations and thus selection of high affinity leads with varied frameworks that recognize multiple epitopes. 
Vaccinex has also modified this fusion protein technology to enable the direct incorporation of multi-pass membrane proteins such as GPCRs and ion channels into the viral membrane.  This method is rapid, does not require any detergents or refolding, and can be applied to multiple cell types in order to maximize protein expression.  Antigen expressing virus can be readily purified and used for antibody selection. 
Under the terms of the agreement with Surface Oncology, Vaccinex will receive an upfront payment and research funding.  If Surface Oncology chooses to obtain an exclusive license to select antibodies, Vaccinex will receive a license fee and annual maintenance fees, as well as development and clinical milestone payments, and royalties on sales of products resulting from the licensed antibodies.
Dr. Ernest Smith, Senior Vice-Present and Chief Scientific Officer of Vaccinex, noted,
“Our technology is ideally suited for selecting antibodies specific to multi-pass membrane proteins such as GPCRs and ion channels.  We are excited to be working with Surface Oncology and to extend the application of our novel platform technologies to their selected targets.”
In November of 2017, Vaccinex also announced an agreement to develop an antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) using Catalent Biologics’ proprietary SMARTag conjugation platform and GPEx cell line engineering technologies, and Vaccinex’s ActivMAb technology. The collaboration focuses on developing the ADC against an undisclosed cancer target.
“Vaccinex is excited to partner with Catalent Biologics to develop this novel antibody-drug conjugate for the treatment of cancer. We feel that by combining an ActivMAb antibody with Catalent’s SMARTag conjugation technology, we can generate a unique, differentiated molecule to treat cancers overexpressing this particular target,” said Raymond E. Watkins, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Vaccinex.
According to Mike Riley, Vice President & General Manager of Catalent Biologics, “The opportunity to leverage these complementary technology platforms provides great promise to produce a differentiated ADC product.”
Code: E01081801



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