Target molecules, addressed by bispecific antibodies and chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cells therapeutics, are differentiation antigens present on malignant cells as well as on their non-transformed counterparts, whose engagement often entails serious, if not lethal adverse events.
As true tumor-specific antigens suitable for these antibody-based strategies are rare, Cherry biolabs developed a combinatorial approach that addresses antigen combinations aberrantly and uniquely expressed by certain types of leukemias or solid cancers as well as cancer stem cells of other provenance.
This is achieved by the combination of two complementary antibody fragments (Hemibodies) which assemble “on target” and thus specifically tag tumor cells for lysis by the patient’s killer T-cells. While distinct hemibody-combinations against certain tumor types have already been identified, the platform is continuously expanding.
Hemibodies address aberrant antigen-combinations that signify cancer cells only. After binding at the tumor cell surface, two complimentary Hemibody-molecules assemble and reconstitute a killer T-cell engaging unit for the immunological attack on cancer cells. Healthy bystanders that express only one of the target antigens but not the combination are spared.
Hemibodies target cancer cells with unprecedented precision and combine combinatorial specificity with a favorable side effect profile. This constitutes a substantial competitive advantage over competing immune therapeutics.
The company develops Hemibodies against solid and hematologic malignancies that express unique antigen signatures. The strategic goal and competence of Cherry biolabs GmbH is to screen, identify, validate and develop Hemibody Pairs targeting antigen combinations associated with malignant transformation.
The company‘s lead candidate addresses multiple myeloma (MM), the second most common hematologic malignancy with a reported 5-year overall survival rate of about 50%. The University Hospital Würzburg is a world-leading center for the treatment of MM.
Cherry biolabs established an algorithm to screen, identify and validate suitable Hemibody Pairs featuring optimized functional and biochemical traits. A master cell bank for GMP production of a first Hemibody pair against MM is initiated and the technology’s Proof of Principle has been provided by a humanized in vivo mouse model.