Intercell acquires monoclonal antibody technology from Cytos
8 June 2010
Intercell AG (VSE: ICLL) has announced that it will acquire
Cytos Biotechnology Ltd's platform technology for monoclonal antibody
discovery. The technology is based on expression cloning of monoclonal
antibodies from human B-cells and enables the identification of
anti-infective antibodies to prevent and treat infectious diseases.
Under the agreed terms Intercell will pay €15
million to Cytos. Intercell will own certain unpartnered monoclonal
antibody assets, including promising pre-clinical anti-infective
antibody candidates discovered by Cytos.
The key scientists, who have very successfully developed the
technology at Cytos, will be employed by Intercell. The antibody
technology complements Intercell's technology platforms and opens
novel medically and commercially relevant applications for
Intercell's Antigen Identification Program (AIP).
The AIP has delivered promising vaccine candidates against
Staphylococcus aureus (Phase II/III) and Pneumococcus
(Phase I) infections, among others, and has also been the basis for
partnerships in the antibody field with Merck & Co. and Kyowa Hakko
Kirin in these indications, respectively.
In its future antibody discovery activities Intercell will focus
on medically and commercially attractive AIP®derived disease targets
including Group B Streptococcus and bacteria involved in hospital
“Cytos' outstanding antibody technology complements our
innovative R&D technology platform and enables pipeline progression
within our existing portfolio”, stated Gerd Zettlmeissl, Chief
Executive Officer of Intercell.
Wolfgang Renner, CEO of Cytos, commented: “Intercell, as a
leading anti-infective company, is ideally positioned through its
Antigen Identification Program (AIP), to capture the full value of
our monoclonal antibody discovery platform. We are very glad that
our technology will support Intercell in discovering important new
monoclonal antibodies to combat infectious diseases.”
Monoclonal antibodies form one of the fastest growing segments of
the pharmaceutical industry. The global monoclonal antibodies market
was valued at US$27.4bn in 2008, indicating a Compound Annual Growth
Rate (CAGR) of almost 30% between 2000 and 2008.
”Antibodies can be extremely effective for the prevention and
treatment of infectious diseases. For example, the increasing rate
of antibiotic resistance among certain types of nosocomial pathogens
makes it extremely difficult to control hospital acquired infectious
diseases in critical situations. Anti-infective antibodies, well
known in the medical arena before the advent of antibiotic
treatments, have experienced a comeback and monoclonal antibody
products are expected to contribute to the control of severe
infections that otherwise might be untreatable in the future”,
explained Eszter Nagy, Senior Vice President Research at Intercell.
Antibodies are found in every human being. These molecules are
essential to life, and play a very important role in the immune
system. Each person has approximately one to two million different
antibodies continuously flowing throughout the bloodstream,
patrolling day and night to fight infections and diseases in their
human host. Antibodies are proteins with special shapes that
recognize and bind to foreign substances — an antigen — surrounding
them so that scavenger cells can destroy them and flush them out of
Monoclonal antibodies are modelled on natural antibodies. They
are specialized, targeted antibodies which are produced
synthetically by means of biotechnological processes. What is
special about these is that they are able to activate the body’s
natural defence mechanisms against the disease.
Antigen Identification Program (AIP)
The design and development of novel subunit vaccines is highly
dependent on the identification and characterization of the
appropriate antigens. Intercell has successfully identified and
refined a large number of relevant and protective antigens for
several bacterial pathogens mostly through its Antigen
Identification Program (AIP).
Selected antibodies, which are derived from infected or healthy
exposed individuals and therefore directly mirror the presence,
accessibility, and antigenicity of relevant proteins from the
particular microorganism in its human host are used in a proprietary
screening process. Through AIP, Intercell's team discovers antigens
that are believed to induce the most protective response from the
human immune system, thus providing a viable basis for the
development of novel and more powerful prophylactic and therapeutic
vaccines, as well as antibody treatments.
AIP has successfully been applied to identify a large number of
novel antigens from several pathogenic organisms including
Staphylococcus aureus and epidermidis, Streptococcus
pneumoniae, Streptococcus agalactiae and pyogenes,
Enterococcus faecalis, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Borrelia
spp., ETEC, Shigella, Campylobacter jejuni, non-typable
Haemophilus influenzae, and Moraxella catarrhalis.