With its new Fund for Innovation, Pierre Fabre will collaborate with H-Immune to use its ‘In Vitro Immunization’ (IVI) platform for the development of fully human monoclonal antibodies (mAbs).
Pierre Fabre is the 2nd largest private pharmaceutical company in France and has recently made efforts to open up its innovation process. Since the establishment of the Pierre Fabre Fund for Innovation, the company has already made a deal with French VibioSphen to develop new chemicals targeting infectious diseases and will now enter a research partnership with H-Immune to generate lead candidates of fully human antibodies as new immuno-oncology therapeutics.
H-Immune is a spin out from the French Atomic Energy Commission, which has developed a proprietary In Vitro Immunization (IVI) technology that allows the company to generate fully human monoclonal antibodies (mAbs). Their platform is based on leveraging the B cell affinity maturation process in vitro to generate antibodies against any therapeutic target.
The two companies will work together to apply H-Immune’s in vitro immunization technology to three immuno-oncology drug discovery programs. In return, Pierre Fabre will cover the cost of R&D and make milestone payments to H-Immune. Moreover, in our recent interview, Pierre Farbre’s head of R&D, Laurent Audoly, pointed out that through its Innovation Fund the company also wants to provide support and expertise in pharmaceutical development.
Fully human antibodies are the gold-standard for antibody-based therapies, because of their reduced risk of immunogenicity. Also, these biologicals have a huge market potential – the top 3 European best selling drugs of 2016 were, in fact, antibodies. However, the approach is not very innovative and companies such as Yumab and Morphosys have been developing antibodies using their established phage display technologies for many years.
Newly founded H-Immune is still counting on its new technology which, according to CEO Luc Boblet, it aims to exploit through multiple industry partnerships. With a strong focus on mAbs and antibody-drug conjugates, Pierre Fabre’s oncology pipeline could definitely profit from this partnership – affirming that opening up its innovation process back in 2016 was a good move for the company!
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