Swedish company Salipro Biotech has entered into a multi-target antibody research agreement with biotech company Icosagen.

The agreement leverages Salipro’s proprietary platform technology for membrane proteins to identify drugs that target specific G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) and solute carrier (SLC) transporters, as per a 10 October announcement. These membrane proteins play a role in different areas such as oncology and autoimmune diseases.

Estonian company Icosagen has CRO [contract research organisation] and CDMO [contract development and manufacturing organisation] capabilities, with expertise in protein production and analytics, which contributes to the drug development of monoclonal antibodies.

Icosagen will utilise its QMCF technology to advance the project, based on the 10 October press release. The company’s QMCF technology is based on a proprietary mammalian expression system for producing recombinant proteins.

Monoclonal antibodies have been identified by GlobalData as a key innovation area for cancer therapy, with Johnson & Johnson being the leading patent filer in this category.

Monoclonal antibodies are high-grossing drugs for the business. The company’s monoclonal antibody Stelara (ustekinumab) has generated $5.2bn in global sales in H1 2023, as per the company’s Q2 financials.

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Johnson & Jonhson’s other monoclonal antibodies such as Darzalex (daratumumab), Simponi (golimumab) and Tremfya (guselkumab) have generated $4.6bn, $1bn and $1.3bn, respectively, in global sales in the same period.

GlobalData is the parent company of Pharmaceutical Technology.

Salipro has multiple partnerships to develop drugs that target membrane proteins and ion channels, along with an internal pipeline. The internal programmes include GCPR targeting drugs for indications in immuno-oncology, neurology and pain.

Icosagen’s therapeutic pipeline includes multiple candidates for the treatment of neuropathic pain and compounds aimed at cancer cell metabolism.