15 June 2010
A field-specific licence for an antibody engineering technology developed at the University of Cambridge has been extended to all fields with pharmaceutical giant Pfizer.
The technology, developed by a team led by Dr Mike Clark of the Department of Pathology and by Dr Lorna Williamson of the Department of Haematology, has already been incorporated into Pfizer's tanezumab, which is currently in late-stage clinical trials. Pfizer now wish to have greater access to the technology for use in other therapeutic antibodies in development.
Tanezumab is a humanised monoclonal antibody (mAb) that selectively targets nerve growth factor (NGF), a regulator of pain processing and sensitivity. The majority of the other antibodies under development that incorporate this technology are intended to act by inhibiting or modulating responses. Ideally, these mAbs have constant regions that have optimised functions and that do not cause destructive responses such as complement activation.
The Cambridge team has made modifications to the antibody constant region that modulate its effector functions. The ability to fine-tune these functions is an important area of research and may improve the clinical profile of therapeutic antibodies such as tanezumab.