AnaptysBio is on a partnership roll: its agreement with Gilead Sciences, announcing on 1 May is its fourth new partnership in 2012 for the discovery of novel antibodies for partners.
AnaptysBio, a private firm based in San Diego disclosed neither the financial terms nor the disease areas of its Gilead deal, but AnaptysBio president and CEO Hamza Suria said the partnership would focus on areas in which Gilead has pipeline interest. Gilead is best known for its portfolio of antiviral drugs for HIV/AIDS and its development programs in hepatitis C therapies. It also has several therapeutics approved and in clinical development for cardiovascular, metabolic and respiratory conditions; cancer and inflammation; and liver disease.
Gilead will pay an upfront fee to AnaptysBio, development milestones and royalties if a therapeutic candidate is commercialized under their agreement.
AnaptysBio announced an antibody discovery partnership under similar terms with Celgene in April focused on multiple targets in oncology and inflammation (scripintelligence.com, 10 April 2012).
Mr Suria said AnaptysBio was “very selective” about the companies with which it did deals: “We have turned down a number of opportunities in order to focus on partners that are most serious about building an antibody pipeline, and Celgene and Gilead have been partners of that phenotype.”
AnaptysBio announced a partnership in January with an undisclosed pharmaceutical company as well as its second collaboration with Novartis. It also has agreements with Roche, Merck and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) under the US Department of Defense.
The company’s in vitro antibody discovery platform called SHM-XEL couples the natural process of somatic hypermutation with mammalian cell display to generate antibodies.
As well as its work in antibody discovery and improvement with partners, AnaptysBio has the capability to develop antibodies with different combinations of binding specificity. “One of the unique features of our platform is to generate antibodies that have dual reactivity. That’s actually going to be a key aspect of our platform going forward, not only creating antibodies that bind to a single target, but generating antibodies with dual specificity,” Mr Suria said.
The dual binding antibody approach has fallen outside its agreements with partners, and AnaptysBio will develop therapeutics based on those antibodies for its own portfolio.
The firm has at least four preclinical therapeutic candidates. The lead program is an anti-interleukin-17 (IL-17) antibody to treat autoimmune diseases. The firm also has an antibody against human nerve growth factor to treat pain from tissue injuries and inflammation, an immunotherapy program for a broad variety of tumour types, and an antibody that targets the activin-signalling cascade to treat muscle-wasting disorders.
AnaptysBio funds its antibody and drug discovery programs with revenue from its partnerships and with private equity from investors that include Frazier Healthcare Ventures, Novo Ventures, Avalon Ventures and Alloy Ventures.
“These deals will sustain the company for quite a while,” Mr Suria said.