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Hummingbird Bioscience and Synaffix have entered in a US $150 million license agreement.  Under the term of the agreement Synaffix will provide Hummingbird Bioscience with access to its proprietary ADC technologies, including GlycoConnect™ and HydraSpace™, in combination with select toxSYN™ linker-payloads. In turn, Synaffix will be eligible to receive up upfront and milestone payments, plus royalties on net sales.

Based on the agreement, Synaffix, a Netherlands-based biotechnology company focused on commercializing its clinical-stage platform technology for the development of antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) with best-in-class therapeutic index, will help Hummingbird Bio to develop a next generation ADC program.

“We are pleased to once again be able to strengthen a partner’s pipeline with our innovative ADC technologies,” said Peter van de Sande, Chief Executive Officer of Synaffix.

“By combining our cutting-edge ADC technology platform with Hummingbird Bio’s next-generation portfolio of precision therapeutics we can further contribute towards the transformation of cancer treatment,” Van de Sande added.

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RAD Platform
Using its own Rational Antibody Discovery (RAD) platform to discover and engineer antibodies against optimal yet elusive epitopes, thereby unlocking novel mechanisms of action.

The technology platform enables researchers at Hummingbird Bioscience to overcome many of the challenges of finding potent therapeutic antibodies and to generate antibodies precisely engineered for efficacy, safety and developability. This includes the discovery of functional agonists and antagonists, antibodies against transmembrane proteins as well as the conserved regions of rapidly mutating e.g., viral proteins.

HER3
The HER3, a member of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) family, is expressed in several types of tumors and known to be important in tumor progression and metastasis. In addition, the role of HER3 in promoting cell proliferation, suggests that targeting HER3 may have therapeutic relevance. [1]

Hummingbird Bioscience’s most advanced development program, HMBD-001, is a HER3 antibody that uniquely targets an epitope on the critical dimerization interface.

Unlike earlier generations of HER3 antibodies, HMBD-001 blocks both ligand-dependent and ligand-independent signaling, eliciting potent anti-tumor effects.

Instead of relying on the response to the immunodominant regions of HER3, which does not overlap with the key functional interface required for dimerization, Hummingbird Bioscience’s researchers focus on specifically directed an immune response to the optimal yet elusive epitope on HER3 identified by the company’s RAD technology platform. The resulting antibodies potently blocked HER3 activation to stop tumor cell growth.

Best in class
“Our RAD platform generates high affinity antibodies against unique epitopes on hard targets, potentially unlocking novel mechanisms of action,” said Piers Ingram, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of Hummingbird Bio.

“We believe that, by combining Synaffix’s ADC technologies with our antibodies, we have the potential to create best-in-class ADCs, and we are excited by the potential of this partnership and look forward to sharing additional updates on our ADC efforts throughout 2023,” Ingram concluded.

Reference
[1] Gandullo-Sánchez L, Ocaña A, Pandiella A. HER3 in cancer: from the bench to the bedside. J Exp Clin Cancer Res. 2022 Oct 21;41(1):310. doi: 10.1186/s13046-022-02515-x. PMID: 36271429; PMCID: PMC9585794.

Featured image: Profile shot of a scientist looking through an inverted microscope at cells that have been grown in culture media. Photo courtesey © 2023 National Cancer Institute on Unsplash. Used with permission.

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