Compugen Inc., a Canadian therapeutic product discovery company, has established new operations in South San Francisco, Calif., for the development of oncology and immunology monoclonal antibody (mAb) drug candidates against Compugen-discovered targets.
The expansion follows the Compugen’s December 2011 announcement of its intention to significantly broaden and accelerate its mAb activities. At that time, and in partial support of its mAb operations expansion, the company also announced an $8 million research funding agreement signed with Baize Investments, an Israeli private corporation that invests in innovative medical technologies.
Compugen Inc. hopes to translate the growing portfolio of novel mAb targets being discovered and validated by the parent company (Compugen Ltd. based Israel) into promising mAb drug candidates for licensing and partnering. The new operations will be lead by Mary Haak-Frendscho, Ph.D., as executive chairperson and John J. Hunter, Ph.D., as vice president of antibody R&D and site head.
The new operations will be located in recently secured purpose-built facilities with relevant laboratory equipment. By locating its mAb operation in the birthplace of biotech, Compugen Inc. hopes to gain access to some of the best biologics talent in the industry and supportive infrastructure. Furthermore, with its new capabilities, the company anticipates it will significantly increase the number of mAb product candidates developed against novel Compugen-discovered targets by performing key activities more effectively and efficiently in-house compared with solely using third parties as previously intended.
Dr. Anat Cohen-Dayag, president and CEO of Compugen Ltd., said, "We are at a pivotal moment where Compugen's unique monoclonal antibody targets discovery platform is delivering high quality, novel mAb targets that enable the development of new drug candidates to address unmet medical needs. We enthusiastically look forward to leveraging the commercial potential of these pioneering and industry leading predictive discovery capabilities by licensing out — at significantly greater values — the differentiated mAb product candidates against these novel targets, rather than the targets.”