ImmunoPrecise commences with antibody humanization

Rat hippocampus stained with antibodies

Custom antibody development lab ImmunoPrecise has recently moved forward with its project to humanize monoclonal antibodies in mice and rats. The company is using its proprietary RapidPrime process which employs single-step cloning to accelerate the identification of positive monoclonal antibodies to as little as 32 days.

Humanizing antibodies is a key step in developing monoclonal antibodies for human therapeutic use. The method uses antibodies created in a laboratory rather than by an individual’s own immune system. When these lab-developed antibodies are introduced to a patient’s system, they may use parts of the immune system to destroy a targeted antigen such as a cancer cell.

Early monoclonal antibodies were made from mouse cells. However, over time these antibodies were destroyed by the body’s immune system – often even before the antibodies could provide treatment. Researchers have since altered their strategy to using antibodies with a mixture of mouse and human components.

“We are moving forward on developing protocols that will allow us to partially humanize monoclonal antibodies,” said Tom D’Orazio, CEO of ImmunoPrecise.  “Humanization is one of the areas we identified as key to our near- and long-term success.”

The project is an important one for ImmunoPrecise since it is the company’s initial effort to dive into one of the fastest growing areas in the human therapeutic field, he said.

“Projects such as this one will allow us to introduce high-value, highly differentiated services and position the Company to support clients with their human therapeutic antibody discovery and development efforts,” said D’Orazio.

Monoclonal antibodies have become a major source of blockbuster drugs, according to ImmunoPrecise. Examples include Humira (world’s top-selling pharmaceutical product used for pain relief, $13 billion in 2014 global sales) and Avastin (an antibody-based cancer drug that sold over $7.3 billion in 2015).

More than 50 per cent of all new drug therapies in development is antibody-based.

Leading pharmaceutical companies including Genentech, Bayer AG, Pfizer Inc., Sanofi, F.Hoffman-La Roche, Merck, GlaxoSmithKline, NovartisAG and Abbvie and others have developed or are developing antibody-based drug therapies.

Transparency Market Research recently released a market study reporting that the monoclonal antibody therapeutic market will be worth $245 billion by 2024 up from $86.7 billion in 2015, representing a CAGR of 13.5%.  Monoclonal antibodies are engineered to attach to specific proteins called antigens.  They can work in a variety ways such as triggering an immune response, disrupting essential cell signaling, or used as conjugates that carry drugs directly to the diseased cells.

The target market for ImmunoPrecise’s antibody and peptide products includes organizations in the academic, biological, diagnostic and pharmaceutical fields. This is a large growing market that is expected to double in the next ten years.

ImmunoPrecise operates from state of the art laboratory facilities located at the Vancouver Island Technology Park in Victoria in B.C. The facility house the company’s tissue culture and molecular facilities as well as an animal care unit. The company is a member of the Canadian Council for Animal Care.

Services offered by the ImmunoPrecise include the development of mouse and rat monoclonal and rabbit recombinant monoclonal antibodies against a wide spectrum of antigens, as well as polyclonal antibodies, and immunologically based assays.

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