April 12, 2021
Schiltigheim, France – ProteoGenix, a France-based contract research organization specialized in antibody development, announces today that it has received public funding from the European Union’s Eurostars-2 Program. The funds will be used for the development of a highly-specific monoclonal antibody (OCi mAb). The OCi will target human leukocyte antigen open conformers (HLA-OCs), a novel therapeutic target and one of the main drivers of inflammation in several rheumatic diseases. The research will be conducted in partnership with ImmunOs Therapeutics AG (Schlieren, Switzerland) and Amsterdam University Medical Center (Amsterdam, The Netherlands).
ImmunOs Therapeutics AG is a leader in the development of innovative treatments for cancer and autoimmune diseases. It will contribute to this consortium by bringing its expertise and knowledge about HLA-OCs and autoimmune diseases. Throughout the project, it will operate by selecting promising monoclonal antibody lead candidates generated by ProteoGenix. Amsterdam UMC is a leading translational research organization that will contribute with its expertise in the SpA disease model and other immune-mediated inflammatory diseases.
“Experience has shown us monoclonal antibodies targeting disease-specific markers are the best strategy to create safer and more potent therapies,” said Philippe Funfrock, CEO and co-founder of ProteoGenix. “This competitive funding allows us to combine our expertise in antibody development with our partners’ knowledge in the treatment of autoimmune diseases. This project will also provide the perfect opportunity to continue optimizing our therapeutic antibody discovery platforms, particularly our phage display platform and human naïve antibody library – the most diverse human library available in Europe.”
OCi mAb will be initially applied for the treatment of spondyloarthritis (SpA), an incurable family of inflammatory rheumatic diseases affecting the spine, joints, and internal organs. 5.8M people affected by these diseases still experience pain, constant fatigue, and reduced flexibility and mobility with severe impact on quality of life and mental health.
Current treatments for SpA are symptomatic, meant only to ease the symptoms and slow the progression of the disease. Conventional treatments consist of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) including monoclonal antibodies targeting downstream inflammatory mediators (IL and TNF). However, only 30-50% of patients respond favorably to these treatments and many develop high-risk infections as a side effect.
“Current treatments of SpA target very unspecific and ubiquitous inflammatory mediators,” said Dr. Clara Chicois, an expert in antibody development and project manager at ProteoGenix. “Given the broad functional role of these mediators, only a fraction of the patients receiving these treatments respond favorably to them and some may end up developing life-threatening infections. The OCi mAb targets a very specific marker (HLA-OCs) that is very strongly associated with these diseases. This represents a unique opportunity to create safer and more effective treatments.”
About ProteoGenix – ProteoGenix is a France-based biotech contract research organization (CRO) providing flexible end-to-end solutions for the discovery and development of life-saving biologics, precision diagnostic tools, and robust reagents for research. As a global leader in antibody, protein, peptide, and gene production, ProteoGenix aims at fostering the development of next-generation immunotherapies by leveraging the power of phage display technologies and combining antibody development with a strong focus on developability. For more information, please visit www.proteogenix.science.
About ImmunOs Therapeutics AG – ImmunOs Therapeutics AG focuses on the development of a new class of biologic therapeutics for the treatment of cancer and autoimmune diseases. The Company has established a proprietary R&D platform for the development of HLA-based therapeutics addressing multiple targets via a single fusion protein. Its novel compounds are fully human and modulate the innate immune system. ImmunOs Therapeutics´ lead program is a multi-functional fusion protein that blocks specific LILRB (leukocyte immunoglobulin-like) receptors and activates anti-tumor responses. For more information, please visit www.immunostherapeutics.com
About Amsterdam UMC – Amsterdam UMC, merged in 2018 from the Academic Medical Center (AMC) and the VU University Medical Center (VUmc), is a leading medical centre that combines complex patient care, scientific research and education. The 8 research institutes of Amsterdam UMC focus on specializations like Infection & Immunity, Cardiovascular Sciences and Neuroscience. For more information, please visit www.amsterdamumc.com
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