Immunoprecise Antibodies Ltd. (NASDAQ: IPA) (“Immunoprecise” or “IPA” or the “Company”), an AI-driven biotherapeutic research and technology company, today announced that Talem Therapeutics LLC, an independently operating subsidiary of IPA, and Libera Bio S.L., have signed a collaboration agreement to jointly address intracellular targets. It is estimated that 75% of disease-causing targets are located inside cells1. Some of the most elusive cancer targets are expressed inside tumor cells. Because they are so difficult to address, they have sometimes been deemed “undruggable” and thus represent high unmet medical needs
Numerous pathways intersect inside tumor cells, such as the MAPK pathway or the “Hedgehog Pathway”, and may generate conditions for tumors to develop, grow and evade the immune system. Disrupting signals at one or more points within these pathways may slow down the growth of the tumors and inhibit their proliferation. Small molecules have been successfully developed to this end, but they often present a significant lack of specificity resulting in toxicity, leading to undesirable side effects for patients. Engineering antibodies to force them inside tumor cells has also been attempted, but it is a complex process, often wrought with failure. The collaboration between Talem and Libera Bio will leverage a nanotechnology that has been proven in vivo to deliver antibodies inside tumor cells and provides a potential solution to this medical challenge.
Libera Bio’s Multifunctional Polymeric Nanocapsules (MPN Technology®) offer an elegant way to deliver antibodies inside tumor cells. The relevant antibodies are encapsulated in multi-layer nanocapsules of approximately 1/10,000th of a millimeter in diameter. The nanocapsules are specifically designed around the physicochemical properties of antibodies, to protect them from degradation in the blood stream. Libera Bio believes that this might be the only nanotechnology with in vivo proof of concept of delivering whole antibodies intracellularly. In addition, MPNs can deliver other biologic modalities or combinations of a biologic and a small molecule in the same nanocapsule. Passively or actively targeted, the MPNs deliver these compounds through a cell membrane and to intracellular targets.
Whole antibodies, close to their natural form, can be delivered in this manner. Talem will leverage its antibody discovery and development expertise and access, including without limitation, the LENSai Technology® from BioStrand B.V., an independently operating subsidiary of IPA. BioStrand has developed a proprietary, AI-driven platform to optimize the design of such antibodies. BioStrand computationally generates and rapidly screens a large set of diverse antibody candidates against a prioritized list of targets, including intracellular targets.
Talem and Libera Bio will jointly develop novel antibodies for use with MPN delivery, with the goal of offering them to larger pharma companies to conduct late-stage development and commercialization. The work launches with the investigation of two intracellular targets with very high unmet patient needs to offer options to the oncologists treating them. “As we continue to push the boundaries of cancer therapy, the ability to target intracellular proteins has been the ‘Holy Grail’ in oncology. Libera Bio’s ground-breaking approach of enabling biologics to penetrate the cell membrane and reach previously ‘undruggable’ targets is an exciting development that has the potential to transform the way we treat cancer,” said Dr. Jennifer Bath, CEO and President of Immunoprecise Antibodies Ltd.
“The Libera Bio team has been very impressed with the combination of modern in silico tools and wet lab capabilities at the IPA Family of companies. We are looking forward to this alliance that just may yield dozens of new options for cancer treatment,” added Olivier Jarry, Co-Founder and CEO of Libera Bio.
- Verdine GL, Walensky LD. The challenge of drugging undruggable targets in cancer: lessons learned from targeting BCL-2 family members. Clin Cancer Res. 2007;13(24):7264-70. doi:10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-07-2184.