Immune Pharmaceuticals established a broad collaboration with the Weizmann Institute of Science’s technology transfer company Yeda, focused on developing antibody therapeutics targeting Her3, an epidermal growth factor family target that is overexpressed in some patients with gastric, head and neck, ovarian, and breast cancer. Through the new collaboration Immune will develop and evaluate a number of anti-Her3 antibody formats including humanized monoclonal antibodies, dual epitope-targeting bispecific antibodies, and antibody nanoparticle conjugates (Nanomabs).
Israel-based Immune Pharmaceuticals is developing monoclonal antibodies against inflammatory diseases and cancer. The firm’s lead anti-inflammatory candidate, bertilimumab, is a fully human monoclonal antibody that neutralizes human eotaxin-1, a chemokine that attracts inflammatory cells, eosinophils, and regulates inflammation. Immune Pharmaceuticals is planning to start a Phase II clinical trial in patients with moderate to severely active ulcerative colitis in 2012. Bertilimumab was originally developed by CAT (now part of AstraZeneca’s MedImmune), and licensed to iCo Therapeutics. Immune exercised its option to develop bertilimumab for non-ophthalmic indications in June 2011.
Immune’s in-house discovery platform is designed to improve the efficacy of monoclonal antibodies. The firm’s Nanomab technology is a next-generation antibody-drug conjugation platform that links monoclonal antibodies with drug-loaded nanoparticles. The technology was licensed from Yissum, the technology transfer arm of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
In January Immune received two grants from the Israeli Office of the Chief Scientist. $605,000 was awarded to support development of the Nanomab platform, and another $395,000 to support Phase II clinical development of bertilimumab.