Video of Dr. Maureen O'Connor presenting 40 new cancer targets and 3000 antibodies against these targets at Biotransfer 2014 in Toronto.
(On screen: Presentation - New cancer targets and matching antibodies for diagnostic and therapeutic use. Dr. Maureen O'Connor. The Crossroad for BioTransfer 2014. March 18, 2014.
Thank you, Bernard. Yes, so as Bernard mentioned,
I will be talking about new cancer targets and antibody sets.
(On screen: Presentation slide - Problem)
What is the problem? In oncology, there are still
unmet medical needs. There are great needs for more effective, less toxic
medications. As has been mentioned so far, therapeutic antibodies are a fast growing
therapeutic class. In fact, within biologics, therapeutic antibodies are the
fastest growing class. This pie chart there shows that in the field of
therapeutic antibodies, oncology is the main clinical indication for which
therapeutic antibodies are being developed.
(On screen: Presentation slide - Value proposition)
Even though there are quite a
number of therapeutic antibodies being developed for oncology, if you look at the
number of targets that are being addressed, it isn't that many. Many
companies are trying to develop antibodies against the same target, so only a few
targets are in the pipeline. We wanted to identify additional therapeutic targets
for cancer and generate sets of matching antibodies against those targets. We
generate two kinds of antibodies, traditional mouse monoclonal antibodies
and the camelid single domain antibodies that Danica just described briefly.
Our goal is to partner with industry and Canadian drug development initiatives to
co-develop and push along these therapeutic antibody candidates
for the treatment of cancer.
(On screen: Presentation slide - Technology)
Generally, I'll briefly describe the technology here.
First, you have to start with target identification and prioritization. On the
left here, you can see that we took three different approaches to start to identify
targets. We used glycoproteomics, which Ottawa NRC is very, very strong in
glycoprotoeomics and that's a very useful technology for the identification of
targets against which you'll develop therapeutic antibodies. We also did some
transcriptomics work, very focused work, on less aggressive versus more aggressive
tumor cells. Finally, we brought in the bioinformaticians to go into the clinical
databases and use some novel algorithms that I'll talk about later actually to try
and pull out potential therapeutic targets. Because we brought all these
three very different approaches together, we were able to get a list of potential
targets. We were able to see the usual suspects within these targets lists. We
find that this helps validate our process, because if we didn't see those targets
that people were already working on,
there would be something questionable about our approach.
Then, after we get this list of targets, we go through a target
prioritization exercise. We bring several scientists in to go through an expert
literature review. We assess the competition, the number and nature of
available antibodies that are already out there. We do rapid intellectual property
assessments. Also, we prioritized our targets, because we could see target
families. Even coming from these different discovery engines, we could see family
members show up. That increased their value for us. In the end, we selected
about 40 potential therapeutic targets and generated antibody sets against these.
After target identification comes immunization and generation of the
antibodies. We, as I said, generated both traditional mouse and camelid antibodies,
and these antibodies we've now set up relatively high throughput approaches to
characterize them well so, they're very well characterized for affinity,
specificity, and we've done some functional cell based assays on these
antibodies. I'd like to mention that there are additional technologies that we can
bring in on these antibodies once we choose the lead candidates. NRC can do
humanization of antibodies, optimize affinities through protein engineering
approaches, and in the end generate stable cell lines that can produce these
antibodies for transfer to GMP facilities.
(On screen: Presentation slide - Product Advantages)
We have about 50 monoclonal
antibodies and 5 camelid antibodies for each target. We feel that these targets
are well selected. We chose what we feel are "Goldilocks" targets, not too hot, not
too cold. They aren't a gene that nobody has ever seen before. These are genes that
encode for proteins but we feel we're in a good, competitive position on them. We've
also seen that some of these targets are heating up since we chose them. This is
also, I think, a validation of our approach, because if none of the targets
that we chose got any hotter over time, we're probably not choosing the best ones.
They're heating up, but we feel that we've got a lead competitive position on them.
We continually do market research and literature research to update our
information on each target that we have. Yes, we can bring in other technologies to
take them from this early discovery stage up to pre-clinical testing once the lead
candidate is chosen.
(On screen: Presentation slide - Licensing Opportunity)
The licensing opportunity. We'd like to license this
technology to Canadian biopharmaceutical industries for the further co-development
working together to advance these antibody therapeutic candidates further. We can
enter into licensing agreements after we do our Canadian due diligence. We want to
offer these to Canadian partners first. We can enter into licensing agreements with
international companies and research centers.
(On screen: Presentation slide - Licensing/Co-Development Process)
What's the licensing
co-development process? The way we do this is we share target sublists with different
groups so we don't show two groups the same target at the same time. We feel this
would lead to unfriendly competition. We choose a target sublist from the list of
40 that matches with the interests of the partner. If somebody wants to develop
antibody-drug conjugates then we choose targets that could be useful for that.
We have a due diligence period where everybody can look at the targets.
Once selected, then we initiate discussions on collaborative projects.
So far, we've shared the target list with about six Canadian SMEs and one Canadian
research organization, and we have some successes now. Three target antibody sets
have been licensed by AvidBiologics for further development together as antibody-drug conjugates, and another target antibody set is very close to being
licensed by another Canadian company.
(On screen: Presentation - Contacts: Dr. Maureen O'Connor-McCourt. Human Health Therapeutics. 514-496-6382. Maureen.Oconnor@cnrc-nrc.gc.ca. Yves Quenneville. Client Relationship Leader. 514-496-8407. Yves.Quenneville@cnrc-nrc.gc.ca. Daniel Desmarteaux. Client Relationship Leader. 514-496-5300. Daniel.Desmarteaux@cnrc-nrc.gc.ca.
Here are the contacts, myself, Yves
Quenneville, and Daniel Desmarteaux, who are both client relationship leaders in
Montreal. Thank you.