News Feature | March 5, 2014

ProBioGen And Merus Enter License Agreement For GlymaxX Technology

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By Estel Grace Masangkay

ProBioGen AG and Merus B.V. announced that the companies have entered into a non-exclusive commercial option and licensing agreement regarding ProBioGen’s GlymaxX fucose-engineering technology. The license will cover clinical development and production.         

Berlin-based ProBioGen will grant Merus non-exclusive rights to use GlymaxX to improve the ADCC (Antibody-Dependent Cell-Mediated Cytotoxicity) activity of one of its lead products, a bispecific anti-cancer antibody. Mark Throsby, Chief Scientific Officer of Merus B.V., said, “The GlymaxX technology substantially improves the ADCC activity of one of our lead bispecific antibodies for the treatment of solid tumors so that it further enhances the tumor cell killing capacity of an already very potent molecule.”

The GlymaxX technology inhibits the addition of sugar fucose to the N-linked antibody carbohydrate part by the antibody producing cells, the absence of which is known to significantly enhance ADCC activity. Production of afucosylated antibodies and proteins by the GlymaxX technology is based on stable integration of a heterologous enzyme into any antibody producer cell line. The technology can be applied to both new and current antibody producer cell lines, as well as entire antibody expression and discovery platforms with no negative effect on productivity. ProBioGen, which developed the technology, said GlymaxX can be rapidly applied in a few weeks to any existing antibody producing cell line or introduced into entire animal cell expression platforms through modification of the host cell line.

ADCC activity is a crucial antibody function which leads to selectively killing cancerous cells or pathogen infected cells. Several antibody therapies rely on ADCC as a therapeutic mechanism of action. Enhancing ADCC can lead to potential therapeutic effect increase and/or significant reduction antibody dosage requirements, impacting severity of side effects as well as therapy costs.

Volker Sandig, Chief Scientific Officer of ProBioGen AG, said, “We are very satisfied to see our GlymaxX technology being applied to Merus’ promising bispecific cancer antibody candidate. This underlines the superiority of our ADCC enhancement technology and its ability to deliver smart and flexible solutions for optimized biopharmaceutical products. We are convinced that our GlymaxX technology will make a significant contribution to develop powerful new antibodies against any diseases in which enhanced ADCC activity translates into therapeutic benefit.”

No financial details of the transaction have been disclosed by either company.