Atbtherapeutics secures plant-based production of targeted antibodies

Atbtherapeutics has struck a deal with CDMO iBio for the manufacture and scale-up of its ‘atbody’ candidates using its plant-based expressions system.

The deal, financials of which have not been divulged, will see contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) iBio work with atbtherapeutics to industrialize the GMP manufacturing process for atbtherapeutics’ atbodies.

‘atbodies’ are a novel class of biologics developed by Belgium-based biotech atbtherapeutics. They are composed of full-length antibodies, peptide linkers, and toxic peptide payloads, much like an antibody-drug conjugate (ADC), but all within the same molecule.

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“The molecule is an antibody, a peptide linker and a peptide toxin all in one biologic, produced in one go by the plant,” an atbtherapeutics spokesperson told this publication.

The composition and mechanism of action are designed to evade major mechanisms of cancer cell resistance, providing an option for refractory and relapsed cancer patients, while increasing potency, stability and superior targeted exposure. Preclinical candidates are targeting hematological malignancy and solid tumors.

The manufacture of atbodies relies on a plant-based system, again developed inhouse, rather than mammalian and bacterial expression systems more common in biomanufacturing.

“The atbody is produced within the entire plant thanks to a transient expression technology. The technology involve the use of a bacteria which is vacuum infiltrated in the plant and then transferring the DNA material so the plant can produce the atbody within a week,” the spokesperson said.

According to the firm, the technology does not need extensive and costly cell line developments and manufacture can be easily scaled-up.

iBio, which runs a 130,000 square-foot GMP facility in Bryan, Texas, has all the equipment and expertise in place and is ready to go.

“We are looking forward to helping atbtherapeutics rapidly build a scalable manufacturing process so that its atbody drug candidates may quickly reach the clinic and begin to realize their potential in oncology,” said Tom Isett, Chairman & CEO of iBio.

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