WuXi Biologics, Adagene ally to address hard-to-manufacture antibodies
- Suzhou, China-based company Adagene Inc. and WuXi Biologics, also in China, will partner on the preclinical development of novel antibodies under a collaboration deal announced March 8.
- The partnership will center around Adagene's so-called Dynamic Precision Library Platform (DPL), which allows the companies to engineer antibodies for antigens that are challenging to address.
- Under the deal, Wuxi will support supply of Adagene products to clinical studies in both China and the U.S.
"The strategic collaboration with WuXi Biologics will enable Adagene to focus on our core competency in the discovery of novel antibody therapeutics and by leveraging the process development and manufacturing capabilities of WuXi Biologics will accelerate Adagene's next wave of innovative products into the clinic," said Peter Luo, cofounder and CEO of Adagene, in a statement.
The Dynamic Precision Library Platform (DPL) supposedly helps differentiate between epitopes, allowing antibodies to bind to targets with a higher degree of precision and specificity. The company develops novel monospecific and bispecific antibodies engineered to hone in on what it calls "difficult antigens" — targets that are not easily accessible or are difficult to produce antibodies against.
Some antigens are not very immunogenic in mice, making it difficult to generate antibodies using conventional approaches. This makes culling of antibodies inefficient, as the number of clones with high affinity having the desired biological activities are reduced in these instances.
Founded in 2011, Adagene raised $28 million in Series B funding in 2016. One of the company's investors, F-Prime Capital Partners, said at the time it was "extremely impressed by Adagene's unique and sophisticated approach to truly innovative library design."
After working with FDA inspectors, WuXi Biologics' facilities now appear ready to help with the manufacturing issues that may arise with developing or making the antibody-based drugs. Such activities may include choosing the appropriate assays for the projects (and validating them), in vitro bioactivity evaluation of antibody drugs, cell-based function assays, immune cell-related function assays, and mechanism of action studies of antibodies.
This alliance between WuXi and Adagene is an early-phase development deal, although WuXi has other clients, such as TaiMed, in commercial manufacturing stages.
- Wuxi Biologics Press release