AvidBiologics Partners With the National Research Council of Canada for Three Novel Antibody-Drug Conjugates

Transforming AvidBiologics' pipeline into one of the most competitive in the industry.

TORONTO, Jan. 29, 2013 /PRNewswire/ - AvidBiologics Inc., a life sciences company developing antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs), announces the conclusion of an agreement with the National Research Council Canada (NRC) to develop three novel ADCs for the treatment of cancer.

The agreement is a partnership under which the three novel, tumor-specific antibodies, which were generated as part of the NRC's integrated therapeutic antibody development (ITAD) initiative, are being produced and tested for use as ADCs. The ITAD program, which is led by Dr. Maureen O'Connor-McCourt, Senior Research Officer within the Human Health Therapeutics research area, integrates NRC's chain of cutting edge genomic, proteomic and bioinformatics technology platforms to discover and develop novel therapeutic targets and antibodies.

The three new ADC programs target undisclosed solid tumor antigens also identified by the NRC through the ITAD program. These novel antigens are highly expressed by multiple cancers, exhibit tumor-restricted expression, and are rapidly internalized. These characteristics make these antigens ideal for targeting with ADCs.

"AvidBiologics is Canada's only company concentrating solely on antibody-drug conjugates", said David Allan, Chairman of AvidBiologics, "and we are privileged to have concluded this agreement with the National Research Council. This agreement positions AvidBiologics as an important receptor company for translating this country's exceptional basic research into ADC products of benefit to human health. In its brief period of existence, AvidBiologics has made significant advances in its programs through its partnership with the NRC and access to NRC's advanced protein-engineering capabilities. We anticipate that this agreement will be a showcase for the value of public-private partnerships."

AvidBiologics is currently developing two unique ADCs targeting the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR); one ADC is engineered to target EGFR in a tumor- specific manner, while the second is a bispecific ADC targeting EGFR and a different, undisclosed antigen. Both ADC programs are designed to safely deliver highly cytotoxic agents to EGFR-expressing tumors, a function not possible with currently-marketed anti-EGFR antibodies, all of which have substantial off-tumor toxicity.

"This partnership transforms AvidBiologics into a leading ADC company with one of the most compelling ADC pipelines in the industry worldwide", said Ilia Tikhomirov, CEO of AvidBiologics. "This diversified pipeline now consists of our two ADCs in current development that are designed to efficiently target a validated tumor antigen via innovative antibody engineering strategies, and the three new ADCs against novel cancer antigens with tumor-restricted expression. We look forward to this alliance with the NRC's world-class facility and scientific team to progress these ADC candidates from the laboratory into the clinic."

AvidBiologics is advised by Dr. Gregory P. Adams, Co-Leader, Developmental Therapeutics at Fox Chase Cancer Center and a widely published author on antibody engineering and antibody-based tumor targeting, and by Dr. Walter A. Bl├Ąttler, scientific founder of ImmunoGen Inc.

About AvidBiologics

AvidBiologics is a privately-funded Canadian biotechnology development company created to be Canada's first to concentrate solely on antibody-drug conjugates. It is a 2011 spin-out from YM BioSciences Inc. where the seminal discoveries related to the EGFR-targeting ADCs were made. AvidBiologics is based in the MaRS Discovery District in Toronto, Canada's innovation hub and incubator to emerging life sciences companies.

SOURCE AvidBiologics Inc.

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