Tetragenetics, an emerging biotechnology company based in Cambridge, Mass., will collaborate with MedImmune, the global biologics R&D arm of AstraZeneca, on antibody drug discovery research. Specifically, Tetragenetics will use its proprietary ion channel production technology, SionX, to produce up to five ion channel antigens for MedImmune's antibody drug discovery programs.
Ion channels are complex membrane proteins which are linked to a variety of human diseases, such as those involving inflammatory conditions. The use of Tetragenetics' technology to produce ion channel antigens will complement MedImmune's focus on antibody drug discovery, helping to develop new therapeutics targeting unmet medical needs.
Traditionally, ion channels have been difficult to express in standard cell lines and the low level of expression has made generation of antibodies against ion channels difficult. Using the Tetragenetics technology, high density expression of recombinant ion channels can be achieved which enables antibody drug discovery.
"Ion channels represent a diverse family of proteins, which have significant linkage to disease," said Herren Wu, vice president, R&D, global head of antibody discovery and protein engineering, MedImmune. "Isolating functional antibodies against these ion channel targets opens the possibility of developing therapeutic antibodies against this important target class, particularly when combining MedImmune's antibody discovery capabilities to the technology. We anticipate this will provide an important opportunity to develop new therapeutics to treat human diseases."
MedImmune will be provided with target ion channel antigens on a non-exclusive basis. Tetragenetics will receive up-front license fees, research funding and milestone payments associated with preclinical and clinical development as well as potential product sales.