A German Biotech Company Developing Novel Precision Canonical Antibodies was Founded and Funded
The rising popularity of monoclonal antibodies (MABs) in treating various diseases such as cancer, immune-system related illnesses and others continues to spur further innovation and business opportunities for biotech companies.
By Pavel Ryzhov, Ph.D.
The research and development pipelines for generating MAB leads are continually being improved to increase successful candidates’ likelihood of entering clinical trials. Small biotech companies that specialize in several disease indications and have a robust antibody-generating platform are also targets for acquisitions by larger companies , fueling this sector’s growth.
Novel MABs for several diseases
Its latest addition is a recently founded German-based IcanoMAB, a privately-funded biotech company specializing in pre-clinical and clinical development of novel MABs for several diseases, including COVID-19 . The press release’s particular focus was on the urgency of the need for effective treatment for severely ill late-stage COVID-19 patients. They typically suffer from Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) and cytokine release storm (CRS). These immune system-mediated complications open for therapeutic interventions that IcanoMAB is planning to pursue. Also, the following disease indications were mentioned where specific treatments are still missing: macrophage-activation syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, gout. In cancers, the potential for immune-oncology treatments for multiple solid cancers or neoadjuvant early Breast Cancer therapy will also be explored. IcanoMAB’s pipeline now includes trastuzumab, a human epidermal growth factor related receptor 2, (HER2)-newC apoptosis inducer, a CD-40 agonist for the treatment of cancers or severe infections and an IL-1R7 antagonist in a range of acute inflammatory diseases 
Sold the antibody production platform and laboratory to BioNTech
According to their press-release, IcanoMAB, established in Polling, Germany by Dr. Stephan Fischer and Dr. Daniel Parera, has also confirmed that it has obtained sufficient funds for several projects from MAB Discovery GmbH where Dr. Fischer is also CEO and Founder. In addition to funding, MAB Discovery also provided three clinical candidates close to the investigational new drug (IND) application stage. It originally developed these antibodies using MAB Discovery’s proprietary antibody discovery platform that was recently sold to BioNTech in 2019. The platform allows to produce >10,000 diverse antibody-producing B-cells that do not require in-vitro maturation or additional engineering of therapeutically active antigen-binding sites. Antibodies are then subjected to high-throughput functional screening funnel with an end-goal to optimize their potency in each disease indication. Furthermore, generated leads undergo additional sequence optimization for humanization, eliminating T-cell epitopes and chemistry, manufacturing and control (CMC) liabilities. Knowledge and control of the entire antibody discovery pipeline culminating in the generation of proprietary molecules also enable guided in-vitro differentiation.
The news also mentioned several collaborators of IcanoMAB that the company is working with to advance its clinical candidates to market. Among several others are the Division of Immunology and Allergy, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden, Department of Medicine, Radboud University Medical Center, the Netherlands, and Division of Genetics, University of Erlangen, Germany. As IcanoMAB’s antibody leads enter clinical testing, they have the potential to address the unmet needs in critical indications, including COVID-19.
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