AbCellera Enters Pact with Kodiak Sciences to Develop Eye Disease Antibodies

AbCellera and Kodiak Sciences have announced a new partnership to create and develop therapeutic antibodies for ophthalmologic indications. The two companies originally entered a partnership in August 2016.

AbCellera and Kodiak Sciences have announced a new partnership to create and develop therapeutic antibodies for ophthalmologic indications. The two companies originally entered a partnership in August 2016.

Under the new deal, AbCellera will leverage its full stack, artificial intelligence-powered antibody discovery platform to discover and identify a number of antibodies against targets selected by Kodiak. Kodiak focuses on products to treat and prevent blindness. Kodiak’s ABC Platform utilizes molecular engineering to combine antibody-based and chemistry-based therapies.

“Kodiak was one of AbCellera’s very first partners, and we are proud to expand our collaboration to support their innovative team in the fight against retinal diseases that cause blindness,” said Carl Hansen, AbCellera’s president and chief executive officer. “We are committed to making state-of-the-art antibody discovery broadly available to partners, empowering them to bring new therapies to patients quickly.”

Although financial terms were not disclosed, Kodiak is paying AbCellera research and development payments, various milestones and royalties on net sales.

Earlier this month, Kodiak reported that the first patients had been treated in three pivotal Phase III trials, GLEAM, GLIMMER and BEACON of KSI-301, its anti-VEGF antibody biopolymer conjugate. GLEAM and GLIMMER are in treatment naive patients with diabetic macular edema, and BEACON is in macular edema due to retinal vein occlusion.

In addition, they indicated that recruitment of patients in the U.S. for its DAZZLE Phase IIb/III trial of KSI-301 in treatment-naïve wet (neovascular) age-related macular degeneration is now complete, while recruitment in Europe is ongoing.

KSI-301 is an anti-VEGF therapy designed to maintain potent and effective drug levels in eye tissues for longer than current drugs.

In late September, AbCellera entered into a multi-year, multi-target research collaboration and license deal with IGM Biosciences. For that pact, AbCellera will create panels of antibodies for multiple therapeutic targets selected by IGM. IGM will have the rights to develop and commercialize the antibodies that come out of it.

At the time, Fred Schwarzer, chief executive officer of IGM Biosciences, said, “We believe that AbCellera’s technology will assist us in rapidly identifying the best antibodies against a large number of agonist targets, as well as other historically difficult targets, for both oncology and immunology applications. Engineered IgM and IgA antibodies may be able to overcome some of the limitations of the current IgG-based therapeutics, and this partnership demonstrates the depth of our commitment to ensuring that the potential of our IgM and IgA technology platform is fully realized in areas of high unmet medical need.”

Recently, AbCellera has been in the news for LY-CoV555, the neutralizing antibody Eli Lilly and Company is developing to prevent and treat COVID-19. The antibody came out of a collaboration between the two companies. LY-CoV555 is a potent, neutralizing IgG monoclonal antibody directed against the spike “S” protein on SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

In mid-September, Eli Lilly and Company announced interim proof-of-concept data from its BLAZE-1 Phase II clinical trial of LY-COV555 (bamlanivimab), its neutralizing antibody therapy for COVID-19. That study enrolled mild-to-moderate COVID-19 patients who had been diagnosed in the outpatient setting. This study is continuing.

However, a separate study of the antibody in hospitalized patients has been halted. About two weeks ago an independent Data Monitoring Committee paused enrollment in this trial because of a potential safety issue. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), the study sponsor, could not verify the safety issue, but their analysis also indicated there was little likelihood the antibody would help the hospitalized patients.