QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute has entered a research collaboration and licence agreement with Shanghai-based biopharmaceutical company EpimAb Biotherapeutics to develop bi-specific antibodies against immuno-oncology targets.
The novel targets were identified by QIMR Berghofer visiting scientist Professor Bill Dougall and the Coordinator of the Institute’s Immunology Department, Professor Mark Smyth.
Under the agreement, the researchers will test antibodies that act on two immune targets simultaneously using EpimAb’s platform Fabs-In-Tandem Immunoglobulin (FIT-Ig®).
Under the terms of the agreement, EpimAb has been granted an exclusive licence to develop the bi-specific antibodies.
QIMR Berghofer’s Acting Director and CEO, Professor David Whiteman AM, welcomed the agreement.
“Professors Bill Dougall and Mark Smyth are world leaders in identifying new immune targets for cancer,” he said.
“By partnering with EpimAb – a company that specialises in developing bispecific antibodies – we hope to speed up the development of much-needed new cancer immunotherapies.”
Professor Smyth said the bispecifics field had opened up new potential avenues to treat cancer.
“Existing immune checkpoint therapies usually act on a single immune target,” Professor Smyth said.
“By developing antibodies that target two immune checkpoints simultaneously, we hope to produce a stronger anti-cancer response.
“EpimAb’s unique platform technology will allow us to further evaluate some of our most recent discoveries.”
EpimAb’s CEO and founder, Dr Chengbin Wu, said he looked forward to using the company’s technology to evaluate novel bispecific target pairs developed under the collaboration.
“QIMR Berghofer is one of the pioneering institutes in the discovery of immuno-oncology mechanisms which are playing an important role in today’s treatment of cancer,” Dr Wu said.
“We are proud to collaborate with QIMR Berghofer to identify novel target combinations as EpimAb enters the next stage of growth.”
The terms of the agreement are commercial-in-confidence.