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Headlines > Preclinical Research

Lonza buys into immunogenicity

By Nick Taylor , 05-Nov-2009

Lonza has bolstered its protein design capabilities by acquiring Algonomics, a CRO with technologies which predict immunogenicity to improve development of protein therapeutics and vaccines.

Immunogenicity can pose a significant obstacle in the development of biologics and identifying candidates that may have safety issues allows companies to filter out these drugs, which is especially important given the high costs of failure.

Lonza has expressed a desire to expand its service offering through acquisitions, having withdrawn its bid for Patheon, and has begun this process by acquiring the immunogenicity focused contract research organisation (CRO).

The acquisition gives Lonza access to Algonomics’ Epibase and Epibase IV platforms which provide in silico T-cell epitope screening and in vitro T-cell assays respectively.

By using these technologies drug candidates can quickly, accurately and cost-effectively be screened. Using this data companies can rank proteins or vaccines, develop a risk management plan and boost immune responses.

Lonza plans to use the technologies in conjunction with its existing AggreSolve technology, which can predict a protein’s stability and the likelihood it will aggregate. This will provide “a comprehensive solution is offered for the design and optimization of biologics”, according to Philippe Stas, CEO of Algonomics.

Algonomics technology portfolio also includes a protein modelling platform, called Tripole, which can build 3-D structures by homology, search for structural similarities between proteins and compute surface and packaging interactions.

Tripole can be used in conjunction with Epibase to eliminate potential epitopes on the protein while maintaining its functionality.

Lonza acquired all the shares of Algonomics for an undisclosed fee. The companies have now begun integrating Algonomics’ technologies and staff into Lonza’s operations. Stas will join Lonza and continue to run Algonomics.