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For more information please contact
Robert Connelly, CEO, Domantis + 1 781 250 2833
Europe: Nicki Brimicombe, NB PR + 44 1883 732353
USA: Ted Agne, ComStrat Group, +1 781 631 3117
- Revolutionary Approach to Cancer Therapy Should Increase Efficacy, Reduce
Toxicity for Many Oncology Indications Waltham, Massachusetts, US and Cambridge, UK; 7 December 2005… Domantis,
the human Domain Antibody (dAb) therapeutics company, today presented data
showing how dual targeting dAbs (a pair of linked dAbs in a single product, each
of which binds to a different target) have been used to specifically target multiple
myeloma cells, while sparing healthy cells.
Speaking at IBC’s 16th International Conference on Antibody Engineering in San Diego,
US, Domantis’ Executive Vice President and CSO, Dr Ian Tomlinson explained
“Domantis scientists have shown in a series of experiments that dual targeting dAbs
which bind to two different antigens on the surface of tumor cells can preferentially bind
to and kill those tumor cells while healthy cells that express only one or neither of the
antigens are spared. This is a completely novel approach to tumor targeting that
dramatically enhances the potency of the targeting agent by focusing its activity on
tumor cells. This cannot be achieved using conventional antibodies which bind to a
single target and typically kill both cancerous and non-cancerous cells.”
Since it first announced the successful creation of dual targeting dAbs in 2003,
Domantis has initiated three proprietary dual targeting oncology programs, initially
focused on multiple myeloma, small cell lung cancer and colorectal cancer. The first two
of these programs harness the ability of dual targeting dAbs to specifically target tumor
cells. Most oncology drugs on the market or in development kill a broad spectrum of
cells, including both cancerous and non-cancerous cells. Even blockbuster antibody
therapeutics such as Rituxan are aimed at killing all B cells, rather than just those that
are malignant. By enhancing the targeting of tumor cells while sparing healthy cells
Domantis hopes to develop the next generation of cancer drugs, based on the unique
attributes of dAbs, that are more effective and less toxic than those currently on the
In addition to creating better cancer drugs, dual targeting dAbs have significant potential
in the treatment of multi-factorial diseases, where a number of different disease targets
are implicated. Domantis has already shown that dual targeting dAbs can bind and
neutralize two completely different therapeutic targets in formats that can easily be
produced in microbial or mammalian cells. The Company has created a panel of
proprietary dual targeting dAbs against several different pairs of targets, including one
to treat asthma that neutralizes the activities of both IL-4 and IL-13. As part of its
ongoing collaboration with Abbott Laboratories, Domantis has also delivered to Abbott a
dual targeting dAb directed at two inflammatory disease targets. Domantis has filed a
series of patent applications covering the methods of production and compositions of
dual targeting dAbs.
Notes to Editors
Domantis is a drug development company that is leveraging its proprietary dominance in human dAbs to
deliver therapies which address large, unmet medical needs including inflammation, cancer, respiratory and
autoimmune diseases. In less than three years it has initiated more than a dozen proprietary therapeutic
programs including preclinical dAb therapeutics for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), chronic
obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, and colorectal cancer.
Therapeutic antibodies are a major commercial opportunity. Seventeen monoclonal antibodies have been
approved for use to date and these are expected to generate sales exceeding $9 billion by 2006. Fully
human dAbs, the smallest possible binding fragments of full antibodies, combine the therapeutic benefits of
small molecule drugs (formulation and administration versatility, wide therapeutic target range, low cost)
with those of full human antibodies (enormous diversity, high specificity, lower toxicity). Thus they have very
broad therapeutic relevance.
The growing antibody market and the commercial potential of dAbs makes Domantis an attractive partner
for the pharmaceutical industry and it has already struck deals with Bristol-Myers Squibb, Peptech, Abbott
Laboratories, ImClone, Tanox and Argenta Discovery whilst also attracting funding from the European
Union for several therapeutic collaborations. A series of dAb therapies derived from these collaborations
should begin to enter the clinic in 2007.
Monoclonal antibodies were invented in the 1970’s at the UK Medical Research Council’s Laboratory of
Molecular Biology (MRC-LMB), which has remained at the forefront of therapeutic antibody research since
that time. In 1989, scientists in the LMB laboratories of Sir Gregory Winter published the discovery of dAbs.
This discovery led to the creation of an extensive portfolio of intellectual property covering the development
and use of dAbs, the binding domains of fully human antibodies. Domantis has exclusive licenses and
assignments to these pioneering inventions for dAb products and extensive intellectual property covering
dAb libraries, methods of discovery, compositions, and formulations of dAbs. As a result, Domantis is the
only company capable of fully exploiting the commercial therapeutic applications of human dAbs.
Sir Gregory and Dr Ian Tomlinson, world-renowned scientists from the MRC-LMB, launched Domantis in
December 2000. Sir Gregory was also a founder of Cambridge Antibody Technology (CAT) plc. To date
Domantis has raised $54 million from investors including 3i, Gray Ghost, Albany Ventures, MVM Limited,
ISIS and Peptech Limited. Domantis employs over 50 staff and has laboratory facilities in Cambridge, UK
and commercial offices in Waltham, Massachusetts, US. See also