From left to right: Dr. Chris Chen, CEO of WuXi Biologics and Dr. Ulf Grawunder, CEO of NBE-Therapeutics (PRNewsfoto/WuXi Biologics)

WuXi Biologics, an open-access biologics technology platform company offering end-to-end solutions for biologics discovery, development and manufacturing, and Swiss biotech NBE-Therapeutics, developing best-in-class, next-generation antibody-drug conjugate or ADCs, have agreed that the Hong Kong-based company will develop and manufacture NBE-Therapeutic’s first investigational product candidate called NBE-002.

NBE-002 is NBE-Therapeutic‘s lead product and a best-in-class immune-stimulatory ADC (iADC) treatment against the Receptor Tyrosine Kinase-Like Orphan Receptor 1 (ROR1) cancer target and is planned to enter into clinical trials in mid-2020 in triple-negative breast cancer and various other indications.

ROR1 is an oncofetal protein and has gained attention in cancer therapy. The target was initially discovered as a relatively specific surface antigen on B cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) in 2008. However, the list of cancer types with ROR1 expression is rapidly expanding, and includes, among others, malignant melanoma, breast cancer, and prostate cancer.

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ROR1 mediates several oncogenic pathways in a cancer type- and context-dependent manner. [1]

Next-generation iADCs
Products with the aim to improve the outcome for cancer patients, as it continues to develop iADCs based on its proprietary technology platforms.

With its proprietary SMAC-TechnologyTM to generate site-specifically conjugated ADCs and its proprietary highly-potent anthracycline toxin platform, NBE has the ability to develop highly targeted treatments with long-lasting anti-tumor immunity.

The partnership with WuXi Biologics is expected to help the company supply NBE’s investigational drug candidates product for clinical trials under Investigational New Drug (IND) applications.

With the establishment of state-of-the-art integrated biologics solution center, WuXi Biologics provides comprehensive one-stop service to global partners for antibodies, ADC drug substances and drug products.

Global partnerships
“… Our partnership with WuXi Biologics… will [help us in our] our next step in the development of highly promising cancer treatments with long-lasting anti-tumor immunity… This collaboration will accelerate the transition of our preclinical iADC development programs to clinical validation. [This will … help us] deliver improved treatment options for global cancer patients,” Ulf Grawunder, CEO of NBE-Therapeutics commented.

“We are glad that NBE-Therapeutics with one of the best ADC platforms in the industry selected WuXi Biologics as their long-term partner for its first highly promising anti-ROR1 ADC program,” said Chris Chen, CEO of WuXi Biologics.

“It is another testament to the premier quality and global excellence of our integrated services, which continue to drive rapid expansion of our market share in Europe. We’re …working with 7 companies on over 10 programs in Switzerland alone,” Chen added.

“Through our global quality, world-class technical capabilities and unparalleled capacity, we aim to empower any global partners to discover, develop and manufacture any biologics to benefit patients worldwide,” he concluded.

Reference
[1] Karvonen H, Niininen W, Murumägi A, Ungureanu D. Targeting ROR1 identifies new treatment strategies in hematological cancers.Biochem Soc Trans. 2017 Apr 15;45(2):457-464. doi: 10.1042/BST20160272.[PubMed]