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Abzena signs antibody manufacturing development deal with University College London

Published 22 February 2017

Abzena has entered into a manufacturing agreement with University College London (UCL).

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.

Abzena CEO Dr John Burt said: “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 UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, whose team identified LRG1 as a target for Magacizumab therapy, said: “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.”

Source: Company Press Release