21 February 2017
Abzena plc (AIM: ABZA, ‘Abzena’ or the ‘Group’), a life sciences group providing services and technologies to enable the development and manufacture of biopharmaceutical products, has signed a manufacturing agreement with University College London (‘UCL’), one of the world’s leading universities. Under the agreement, Abzena will manufacture Magacizumab, an antibody created using the ‘Abzena inside’ Composite Human Antibody™ technology.
Under earlier agreements with UCL, Abzena conducted the antibody humanization and developed the manufacturing cell line for magacizumab. In this latest service agreement Abzena will manufacture Magacizumab at its biomanufacturing facility in San Diego CA, USA. This programme is the first to proceed with Abzena through each of the phases of humanization, cell line development and into manufacture, thus illustrating Abzena’s expanded capabilities in the discovery, development and manufacture of biopharmaceutical products for its partners across its UK and US operations.
Magacizumab is an ‘Abzena inside’ product that is being developed by the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology for the treatment of neovascular (or ’wet’) age-related macular degeneration (AMD). This is a condition affecting older people that can lead to loss of vision due to abnormal blood vessel growth. The antibody targets LRG1 (leucine-rich alpha-2-glycoprotein 1) which researchers at UCL identified as having a role in promoting the growth of pathological blood vessels. The project is funded by the Medical Research Council’s Developmental Pathway Funding Scheme. UCL Business, the technology commercialisation company of UCL, currently owns the patents for Magacizumab. Under the previous antibody humanization agreement with UCL, a milestone payment will become due to Abzena during clinical development of magacizumab.
Dr John Burt, Abzena’s CEO, commented: “Being able to support the progression of magacizumab towards the clinic is an important opportunity. This is the second ‘Abzena inside’ product that will utilise our San Diego biomanufacturing facility, demonstrating how our expanded contract manufacturing capabilities enable Abzena to earn additional service revenue from products created with our technologies.”
Professors Stephen Moss and John Greenwood at the Institute of Ophthalmology, whose team identified LRG1 as a target for magacizumab therapy, commented: “It is very gratifying to be embarking on this next stage of magacizumab’s development and to be continuing our work with Abzena to drive forward this exciting novel approach for the treatment of neovascular AMD.”
John Burt, Chief Executive Officer – Julian Smith, Chief Financial Officer – +44 1223 903498
Melanie Toyne Sewell / Rozi Morris
+44 20 7457 2020
Abzena (AIM: ABZA) provides proprietary technologies and complementary services to enable the development and manufacture of biopharmaceutical products, a growing area that requires specialist knowledge and expertise. The Group has a global customer base which includes the majority of the top 20 biopharmaceutical companies as well as large and small biotech companies and academic groups.
The term “Abzena inside” is used by Abzena to describe products that have been created using its proprietary technologies and are being developed by its partners, and include Composite Human Antibodies™ and ThioBridge™ Antibody Drug Conjugates (ADCs). Abzena has the potential to earn future licence fees, milestone payments and/or royalties on “Abzena inside” products.
Abzena offers the following services and technologies across its principal sites in Cambridge (UK), San Diego, California (USA) and Bristol, Pennsylvania (USA).
- Immunogenicity assessment, protein engineering to create humanized antibodies and deimmunised therapeutic proteins, and cell line development for manufacture.
- Contract process development and manufacture of biopharmaceuticals, including monoclonal antibodies, recombinant proteins, vaccines, and gene therapy and cell therapy products, for preclinical and clinical studies.
- Proprietary site-specific conjugation technologies for antibody drug conjugate development and solutions for optimizing the therapeutic properties of biopharmaceuticals.
- Contract chemistry and bioconjugation business focused on ADCs and is establishing the capability to manufacture ADCs to GMP standards.
For more information, please see www.abzena.com
About UCL (University College London)
UCL was founded in 1826. We were the first English university established after Oxford and Cambridge, the first to open up university education to those previously excluded from it, and the first to provide systematic teaching of law, architecture and medicine. We are among the world’s top universities, as reflected by performance in a range of international rankings and tables. UCL currently has over 38,000 students from 150 countries and over 12,000 staff. Our annual income is more than £1 billion.
About UCL Business PLC
UCL Business PLC (UCLB) is a leading technology commericalisation company that supports the research and innovations arising from UCL, one of the UK’s top research-led universities. UCLB has a successful track record and a strong reputation for identifying and protecting promising new technologies and innovations from UCL academics. UCLB has a strong track record in commercialising medical technologies and provides technology transfer services to UCL’s associated hospitals; University College London Hospitals, Moorfields Eye Hospital, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children and the Royal Free London Hospital. It invests directly in development projects to maximise the potential of the research and manages the commercialisation process of technologies from laboratory to market.