Biocytogen Pharmaceuticals and Spanish biotech company Ona Therapeutics have signed an antibody agreement for the development of antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) for solid tumours.

Ona will gain access to analyse fully human antibodies created using the RenMice platform of Biocytogen against a specific tumour target. 

Ona also holds an option to obtain an exclusive licence for antibodies to develop, produce and market ADCs in indications and territories agreed by the companies.

The companies did not disclose the financial terms of the deal.

Biocytogen is entitled to receive an upfront payment from Ona linked to the option exercise. 

Ona will make payments linked to option exercise, development and commercialisation milestones, apart from royalty payments on net product sales.

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Biocytogen president and CEO Dr Yuelei Shen stated: “As part of Project Integrum, Biocytogen has been discovering fully human antibodies against 200 TAA [tumour-associated antigen] targets based on their internalisation activity. 

“We are honoured that Ona, among other global biopharmaceutical companies, recognises the potential of our proprietary off-the-shelf antibodies. 

“We believe Ona’s deep understanding of novel mechanisms of resistance in advanced cancer and their capabilities in ADC design and development will accelerate the development of our antibodies into promising therapeutics.”

Biocytogen focuses on developing new antibody-based therapies leveraging advanced technologies. 

Using genetically engineered RenMice platforms, the company has discovered fully human monoclonal/bispecific/multispecific antibodies and a bispecific antibody-drug conjugate, nanobody and TCR [T-cell receptor]-mimic antibody.

Ona Therapeutics CEO and co-founder Dr Valerie Vanhooren stated: “We look forward to evaluating Biocytogen’s proprietary antibodies for ADC uses. 

“We believe the combination of Biocytogen’s rich antibody repertoire with Ona’s unique insight in advanced cancer biology will have great advantages in the discovering and developing of first-in-class molecules for unmet medical needs.”

In September 2023, Biocytogen signed an antibody assessment, option and licence agreement with Myricx Bio to develop ADCs.

Myricx will offer its linker and payload while Biocytogen will combine them with its RenMice-derived fully human antibodies to design ADCs.