- Antibodies can be designed to address very specific targets along cancer pathways
- Many of the best-validated intracellular cancer targets have been deemed “undruggable” because large molecules cannot spontaneously enter tumor cells.
- EVQLV will design novel antibodies to address intracellular targets with high unmet needs
- Libera Bio will leverage its MPN Technology® to deliver these antibodies to their target
Multiple pathways inside tumor cells, such as the MAPK pathway or the “hedgehog pathway,” may create the conditions for tumors to develop, grow and evade the immune system. Disrupting the signals in these pathways in one or multiple points may slow down the growth of the tumors and inhibit their proliferation. Small molecules have been successfully developed to this goal, but they may present a significant level of toxicity and a lack of specificity. Engineering antibodies to force them inside tumor cells has also been attempted but is a complex process, wrought with failure.
Libera Bio’s Multifunctional Polymeric Nanocapsules (MPN Technology®) offer an elegant way to deliver antibodies inside tumor cells. The relevant antibodies are encapsulated in nanocapsules made of natural polymers of approx. 1/10,000th of a millimeter in diameter. The nanocapsules protect antibodies or other biologics from degradation. Actively or passively targeted, the MPNs deliver these biologics to intracellular targets. A second active ingredient may be co-encapsulated in the MPN and delivered simultaneously to the cytosol.
Whole antibodies, close to their natural form, can be delivered in this manner. EVQLV has developed a proprietary, AI-based system to optimize the design of such antibodies. EVQLV will computationally generate and rapidly screen a large set of diverse antibody candidates against a prioritized list of intracellular targets.
EVQLV and Libera Bio will jointly develop novel antibodies and their MPN delivery, with the goal of offering them to larger pharma companies to conduct late-stage development and commercialization.
“Combining computational antibody design with Libera’s novel intracellular delivery technology allows us to push beyond the current limitations of antibodies, opening an array of innovations for patients.” said Andrew Satz, Co-founder and CEO of EVQLV. “We are thrilled to work alongside the expert team at Libera Bio and continue our mission of accelerating the speed that healing reaches those in need.”
“There are many intracellular targets that have been elusive so far to conventional treatments and that specifically designed antibodies may address efficiently. We are delighted to work with EVQLV that brings strong molecular biology background and state-of-the-art technology to design such novel antibodies. We are looking forward to creating new options for cancer patients with unmet needs”, added Olivier Jarry, Co-Founder and CEO of Libera Bio.
EVQLV (www.evqlv.com) is a private US company based in New York and Miami. EVQLV leverages advances in computation to revolutionize the design and development of therapeutic antibodies. EVQLV partners with companies at all stages of antibody development, performing de novo antibody design, antibody optimization, and designing the next generation of innovative immunotherapies.
Libera Bio S.L. (www.liberabio.com) is a private Spanish company, spun off from the University of Santiago de Compostela (Galicia, Spain). Libera Bio aims at changing cancer therapy by allowing biologics to cross the cell membrane and reach “undruggable” intracellular targets: the “Holy Grail” in oncology. It has conducted preclinical studies of antibodies addressing frequent mutations of KRAS, a protein involved in a large number of cancers, particularly pancreatic, colorectal and lung cancers. It is now preparing for the enabling studies aiming at a clinical trial authorization.