Abzena, the life sciences group providing services and technologies to enable the development and manufacture of biopharmaceutical products, has signed a licence agreement with Telix Pharmaceuticals Limited, a biopharmaceutical company specializing in the development and commercialisation of radiopharmaceuticals for diagnostic (imaging) and therapeutic use.
Under the terms of the Agreement, Abzena has granted Telix an exclusive worldwide, royalty bearing, sub-licensable licence to its prostate-specific membrane antigen (‘PSMA’) antibodies in the field of radio-immunoconjugation. The PSMA antibodies were created using Abzena’s Composite Human Antibody™ technology.
A radio-immunoconjugate is created by attaching a radioactive isotope to a biological targeting entity e.g. a monoclonal antibody. The benefit of such a combination is that a radioactive substance can be carried directly to a cancer cell with a high degree of specificity and selectivity. The mechanism of action includes a combination of DNA damage to tumour cells and an immune-stimulating antigen release as the tumour micro-environment is remodelled.
The Abzena antibodies subject to the Agreement are prostate cancer-specific, therefore, depending on the type of radioactivity Telix attaches to the product, the resulting radio-immunoconjugate can either be used to image where cancerous cells are in the prostate or to kill the cancer with great precision, minimising the radiation exposure to healthy tissue.
Monoclonal antibodies remain one of the most versatile platforms for the design of targeted radiopharmaceuticals. This is due to their high in-vivo stability, prolonged circulation time in blood and comparative ease of chemical functionalisation, along with a high antigen specificity and affinity.
Christian Behrenbruch, CEO of Telix Pharmaceuticals, commented: “Radio-immunoconjugates have tremendous potential as one of the most adaptable site specific, precision medicines and, in prostate cancer, PSMA is increasingly recognised as an important target. This deal with Abzena significantly reinforces Telix’s development focus in prostate cancer. Our approach to delivering molecularly-targeted radiation not only represents the next frontier for radiation oncology therapy, but also has an important nexus with the rapidly developing field of cancer immunotherapy. Our mission is to build on existing clinical experience with PSMA antibody-directed radiation to create a product that can be manufactured effectively and with an optimised efficacy profile. We chose to work with Abzena because of its proven expertise in antibody engineering and conjugation, a track record which is reflected by the fact that there are 12 antibody drugs in the clinic that harness Abzena’s technology”.