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Ablynx partner presents pre-clinical data in Chicago

By BFN News | 07:25 AM | Wednesday 04 April, 2012

biopharmaceutical company Ablynx has noted pre-clinical data presented by partner Novartis at the American Association for Cancer Research annual meeting in Chicago. The paper was on a novel tetrameric Nanobody agonist (TAS266) targeting Death Receptor 5 (DR5) - a key receptor target on cancer cells across a number of tumour types. The ability of TAS266 to efficiently 'cross-link' DR5 receptor targets, apparently not achievable with conventional monoclonal antibodies, results in the controlled death of cancer cells. The paper was presented by Dr Heather Huet from Novartis and the authors included three scientists from Ablynx. The abstract summarises the results of the pre-clinical in vitro and in vivo studies of a tetravalent anti-DR5 Nanobody in an oncology setting. TAS266 was shown to elicit sustained tumour regressions in multiple tumour xenograft models, including a patient-derived primary pancreatic tumour model that is insensitive to a conventional anti-DR5 agonist antibody. Also, compared to some of the other therapeutic agonists against DR5 that have been developed and that have been clinically evaluated, TAS266 proved to be up to 1000-fold more potent in tumour cell death assays. In view of this, the authors of the abstract conclude that "TAS266 has the potential for superior clinical activity in settings insensitive to the conventional therapeutic approaches to DR5". Ablynx chairman and chief executive Dr Edwin Moses said: "Being present on cancer cells across a broad range of tumour types, DR5 has been the target of numerous conventional antibody approaches, but none have apparently been successful so far, possibly because of the need for secondary 'cross-linking' to achieve the required activity. "The ability to produce tetravalent Nanobodies appears to allow more efficient 'cross-linking' (in the tumour micro-environment) and so potentially opens up a new pathway for the treatment of certain cancers." Story provided by