ImmunoQure AG, a biotechnology company focused on the development of autoantibodies as therapeutics to treat human diseases and Memo Therapeutics AG, a biotechnology company focused on the discovery and development of therapeutic antibodies from cognate paired antibody libraries have established a collaborative partnership to create libraries from APS-1 memory B cells.
ImmunoQure, headquartered in Düsseldorf, Germany, was founded by a consortium of leading researchers from the Universities of Tartu (Estonia), Helsinki (Finland), King’s College, London (UK), the APECED patient support charity APECED Ry and HS LifeSciences GmbH, Düsseldorf, (Germany). ImmunoQure is financed by QureInvest II (SCS) SICAR, a specialist European life sciences entrepreneurial investment fund advised by HS LifeSciences GmbH.
Memo Therapeutics AG (MTx) is a spin-off company of ETH Zürich, Switzerland, founded in 2012. Its proprietary DROPZYLLATM platform allows to create an authentic copy of whole antibody repertoires from humans and animals in recombinant form. Human antibody repertoires permit the identification of protective antibodies and their targets by comparison of different patient populations (e.g. responders vs. non-responders). In addition, MTx’s ability to work with whole antibody repertoires increases the probability of success in finding rare antibodies or antibodies against difficult targets.
ImmunoQure’s focus is the identification and development of autoantibodies derived from an ultra-rare patient population with an autoimmune disorder termed Autoimmune Polyendocrine Syndrome type 1 (APS-1 or APECED). APS-1 patients have a mutation in the AIRE gene which is involved in controlling central tolerance – a key mechanism used by the human immune system to filter out immune cells that have the potential to target the body’s own proteins (“self proteins”) rather than those which are not (“non-self proteins”) e.g., from infectious agents such as bacteria or viruses.
MTx has developed a unique microfluidic technology platform, DROPZYLLATM, that enables the creation of “expressable” antibody libraries from memory B cells while retaining the natural pairing of heavy and light chains of the original antibodies thus providing access to the exact combination that were created by the immune system. By retaining the correct pairing of heavy and light chains, DROPZYLLATM allows broad antibody repertoires to be permanently archived in libraries.
Following a feasibility study where the two companies successfully adapted the DROPZYLLATM technology platform for use in human memory B cells with compromised viability, as demonstrated by the successful discovery of a portfolio of anti-cytokine antibodies, a longer-term collaboration has been established.
The collaboration envisages the preparation of multiple APS-1 autoantibody libraries by Memo Therapeutics AG that ImmunoQure will screen for novel drug candidates. Memo Therapeutics AG shall receive research payments from ImmunoQure and will receive milestone and royalty payments from ImmunoQure related to the advancement of drug candidates to the market. Further financial details were not disclosed.
“This collaboration is a key component of our strategy for advancing ImmunoQure’s position as a leading proponent of autoantibodies as optimal drug candidates. Supported by APS-1 patients, we are building a unique archive of human autoantibodies that target self-proteins and which represent a treasure trove of novel drug candidates. We are delighted to work with Memo Therapeutics AG whose team and technology platform has proven itself to be of the highest standard.” – Prof. Adrian Hayday, Chief Scientific Advisor & co-founder of ImmunoQure
“It is with great pleasure that we extend this collaboration with ImmunoQure which gives us the opportunity to showcase the repertoire biobanking capacities of our DROPZYLLATM technology with/in this very special and precious donor resource.” – Dr. Christoph Esslinger, CSO and co-founder of Memo Therapeutics AG