US-based Ab Initio Biotherapeutics and Pfizer have signed a research and licence agreement to discover novel therapeutic antibodies against an undisclosed target in the G-protein coupled receptor (GPCR) superfamily.

GPCRs consist of therapeutic drug targets, with key regulatory roles in physiological processes that range from cardiovascular biology to metabolic health.

Ab Initio will help engineer antibodies that activate the targeted GPCR by using its GPCR antibody discovery platform.

Ab Initio president and CEO Kenneth Lin said: “We are pleased to partner with Pfizer as we seek to further validate the potential of our platform for discovering antibody-based drugs against the GPCR family.

“Pfizer shares our vision for generating new therapies for inadequately addressed diseases, and we welcome them to our select group of investors.”

"Pfizer shares our vision for generating new therapies for inadequately addressed diseases, and we welcome them to our select group of investors."

As part of the collaboration, Pfizer will develop and commercialise any GPCR activator (agonist) antibodies against this target.

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Ab Initio will receive an upfront fee and research support and is also eligible for payments and tiered royalties on future sales of any products that may result from the partnership.

Pfizer biomedicines design vice-president Will Somers said: “GPCRs are important targets for therapeutics, and we believe that Ab Initio’s antibody discovery platform and the expertise of their team have the potential to aid in our biotherapeutics research efforts.

“We believe antibodies provide a compelling opportunity arising from their inherent properties of exceptional target specificity, infrequent dosing, and peripheral distribution.”

Ab Initio will also advance discovery efforts for modulators of a number of additional GPCR targets, in parallel with the programme.