Sanofi has licensed the plug-and-play BiXAb platform to generate multi-specific antibodies. The deal validates the technology and will help fund Biomunex’s internal pipeline, says CEO Pierre-Emmanuel Gerard.
Under terms of the deal, Biomunex will receive an initial upfront payment from fellow French firm Sanofi, and will be eligible to receive future milestone payments. Specific figures have not been disclosed.
This is the first licensing deal for Biomunex’s BiXAb bi- and multi-specific antibody generation and optimization technology, and according to CEO Pierre-Emmanuel Gerard it could drive future out-licensing deals and partnerships.
“For a young company like Biomunex an out-licensing deal or a partnership with such a major pharma player in the field will bring external validation of technology, demonstrate its value, bring great credibility for the management team and the company,” he told BioProcess Insider.
“In general, any deal with the pharma industry, especially with one of the leaders in the field like Sanofi, is a major step forward for the development of a biotech company. For that reason, this deal with Sanofi is of the utmost importance to us.”
Gerard added the (undisclosed) proceeds from this deal will help accelerate the development of Biomunex’s own immuno-oncology bi-specific antibody programs. The firm has two announced candidates: BMX-002 being investigated in pancreatic cancer, and BMX-101 for the treatment of hematological malignancies, in particular for Multiple Myeloma.
The firm is also looking to support the development of these candidates through a round of funding that Gerard expects to be completed soon.
The BiXAb platform
BiXAb are tetravalent bispecific antibodies constructed using only human sequences. According to Biomunex, the four Fab domains in the BiXAb are assembled naturally with no artificial linkage of the light chain to the heavy chain. This – the firm says – assures excellent drug-like properties of the BiXAbs and reduces immunogenicity.
“We employ proprietary mutations at the interface of heavy and light chains in the constant region of the Fabs to ensure correct folding of Fab domains formed with cognate pairing of heavy and light chains,” Gerard explained, adding the technology holds several advantages over other bi- and multi-specific antibody platforms.
“[The] platform is based on a Universal modular bispecific design (plug and play) and as such it represents the next generation bi- and multi-specific antibody platform, which requires only minimal engineering,” he told us.
“This modular design enables a Turnkey formatting of a BiXAb from any pair of monospecific MAbs as building blocks, in a time- and cost-effective manner. Production and characterization of BiXAb molecules indeed requires less than three months instead of industry average of more than one year.”
Furthermore, Biomunex has demonstrated that the platform fulfils key properties required of an ideal bispecific antibody technology, including modularity, excellent drug-like properties, manufacturability, he added.