London, UK, 5th December, 2005 –Medical Research Council Technology (MRCT) today announced the creation of the Therapeutic Antibody Group (TAG) which will comprise former AERES scientists. As part of MRCT’s evolving strategy of adding significant value to key MRC intellectual property assets, TAG will collaborate with MRC scientists to translate innovative drug targets into potent and selective therapeutic antibody candidates which can then be partnered with industry for progression into pre-clinical and clinical studies. In addition, MRCT will provide the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry access to the world-class antibody humanisation expertise of TAG as part of a research collaboration.
“TAG scientists have a proven track record of success in antibody humanisation which extends over 17 years and has produced 8 clinical candidates and two regulatory approved humanised antibodies”, commented Tarran Jones, TAG Director. “This is a tremendous opportunity to exploit a clinically proven technology on a steady stream of important MRC targets and antibodies and to make a significant contribution to creating new medicines”.
MRCT CEO, Dr Roberto Solari added; “The unique skill set present within the AERES scientists will add considerable value to MRC antibodies and their associated targets. The therapeutic antibody approach will also complement our new small molecule drug discovery programme, which together will provide significant strategic synergies to MRCT.
Concurrent with this announcement AERES Biomedical Ltd. announced today that due to staff re-structuring, the Company will no longer enter into new agreements to humanise monoclonal antibodies on behalf of third parties. AERES will, however, fulfil all obligations arising under its ongoing contracts, which are due to be completed in 2005/2006.
Over the past 6 years, AERES has successfully exploited its portfolio of antibody engineering skills and established a world-wide reputation for its expertise in antibody humanisation. Its many collaborators include Acorda Therapeutics (USA), Antisoma (UK), Biotest Pharma (Germany), Peregrine Pharmaceuticals (USA) and the National Cancer Institute (USA). More recently, the Company has signed a partnering agreement with Syngenta Biopharma (Switzerland) to co-develop one of its humanised antibodies. Going forward, AERES will continue to develop its assets, including intellectual property rights relating to its technology and to monoclonal antibodies of potential therapeutic significance on an ongoing basis.