Biolex technology produces superior MAbs

By Anna Lewcock

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Monoclonal antibodies Biotechnology

A new cell culture process developed by Biolex Pharmaceuticals
produces monoclonal antibodies which are both more potent and more

Using their proprietary LEX System Biolex, in conjunction with biopharmaceutical company Medarex, have been able to produce monoclonal antibodies which appear to be superior in vitro when compared to those produced by traditional methods.

The results, which are published in this month's issue of Nature Biotechnology , show that monoclonal antibodies produced by the LEX system have distinct advantages over those produced in a mammalian cell system, specifically systems using Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells.

The researchers demonstrated that when compared with cells produced via the CHO method, antibodies produced using the LEX system showed 25 - 30 times higher binding affinity, and the effector function was at least doubled.

The LEX system was also shown to produce highly homogenous glycosylation structures in the antibodies, in contrast to other systems which tend to produce a heterogeneous mix of glycoforms causing difficulties with consistency, scale-up and regulatory compliance, as well as increased costs.

Biolex's LEX system makes use of the natural characteristics of the aquatic plant Lemna or duckweed, and applies advanced genetic engineering techniques and protein recovery methods to produce a technology which can enable monoclonal antibodies as well as hard-to-make proteins (such as peptides and cytokines).

Biolex's research was conducted using the monoclonal antibody MDX-060 which is currently under development by Medarex.

The two companies initiated a collaboration in 2005, which has since been expanded with Biolex employing the LEX system to develop commercial lines for three Medarex antibodies.

"The rapid and successful evolution of our ability to optimise monoclonal antibodies greatly enhances the value of the LEX System and has expanded our commercialisation opportunities," said Jan Turek, Biolex' CEO.

"Antibody glycosylation optimisation is the focal point of a number of our current and future expected collaborations, and provides us with additional opportunities for expansion of Biolex's own proprietary pipeline."

The company has formed strategic alliances with several biotech and pharmaceutical companies making use of their LEX system, including Centocor, Medarex, MedImmune and Kringle Pharma.

Biolex also has several proprietary proteins that are enabled by the LEX system and are in or about to enter the clinic: Locteron, being developed in collaboration with Dutch firm OctoPlus and entering phase II clinical trials in 2006, BLX-883, a recombinant alpha interferon which successfully completed phase I clinical trials in 2005, and BLX-155, a fibrinolytic ("clot-buster") protein which entered preclinical studies in early 2006.

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