The two companies will target a number of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCR) with an initial focus on immuno-oncology.
“GPCRs have long been intractable targets for antibody discovery resulting in dearth of products. We believe that our proven StaR technology can unlock this substantial opportunity, not just in immuno-oncology but also across other therapeutic areas where GPCR-targeted biologics could have a significant impact,” said Malcolm Weir, Chairman and CEO of Heptares.
Per the agreement, Heptares will apply its StaR platform to produce stable antigens based on multiple GPCR targets, and Kymab will use its Kymouse human antibody discovery platform to generate antibodies in response to immunization with these antigens.
“We’re adding together two leading technologies,” Anne Hyland, Chief Financial Officer at Kymab told Outsourcing-Pharma.com. “There’s a huge amount of respect between both companies … For us, it’s almost a perfect marriage.”
Under the agreement, the companies will jointly conduct and share the antibody discovery and development program costs.
“Antibodies are important therapeutic agents for cancer and other indications,” said David Chiswell, CEO of Kymab. “Our collaboration with Heptares will allow us to combine stable antigens based on multiple GPCR targets with our world-class Kymouse platform, which has unparalleled diversity and will therefore rapidly identify and yield highly selective potent human monoclonal antibodies for unmet medical needs.”
The strategic partnership comes on the heels of Heptares’ major deal with Allergan, which will bring the company $2.5bn. “It’s very nice to get together so soon after Heptares announced that news,” said Hyland.
As Outsourcing-Pharma previously reported, Hepartes also recently partnered with four pharmaceutical companies and various institutions to form the Cambridge-Pharmaceutical Cryo-EM Consortium, which will evaluate cryo-electron microscopy’s potential for drug development.
While the collaboration between Heptares and Kymab will initially focus on immono-oncology, which Hyland explained “is a huge area,” she hopes that the partnership will result in “some promising leads which we’ll both progress.”
“For both of us, it’s very exciting to have come together to be able to collaborate,” added Hyland. “There are exciting times ahead in the UK.”