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Cerbios collaborates with IRB on developing targeted leukemia antibodies

news-releasesCERBIOS-PHARMA SA
February 4th 2019

Lugano, Switzerland: – Pharmaceutical ingredient specialist Cerbios-Pharma SA (Cerbios) has begun collaboration with The Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB-USI) at Bellinzona to develop Antibodies’ derivatives to treat Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML).

The joint research should make it possible to target leukemia cells without attacking healthy ones, thereby improving therapeutic efficacy and limiting the side effects of chemotherapy.

Binding antibodies

A group headed by the IRB’s Structural Biology Group Leader, Dr. Luca Varani, has developed antibodies (molecules in the immune system) that are capable of recognizing target molecules present in large quantities in leukemia cells. The antibody is attached to a nanoparticle that contains a highly potent drug and guides it towards leukemia-affected cells, without affecting healthy ones. Once inside the tumor cells, the nanoparticle releases the drug.

Cerbios is developing the technology for the chemical process necessary to bind the antibody to the nanoparticle and in order to ensure that the drug is released only inside the cells.

Active in ADCs

Cerbios has been active for many years in developing and producing APIs for Oncology and, in particular, Antibody Drug Conjugates (ADCs) with highly active toxins.

Cerbios-Pharma CEO Dr. Gabriel Haering, commented: “I am very proud to participate, with my team, in this innovative project with a research center that is recognized around the world.”

Industrial-academic synergies

“This project is in the context of the sustainability of our company and is targeted at creating long-term synergy between the academic world and industry through knowhow and stimulating knowledge for both parties,” Dr. Haering added.

The collaboration between IRB and Cerbios-Pharma is part-supported by the Interreg LeucITi project, financed by the European Community and the Canton of Ticino, that promotes interaction between research centers and Ticino companies for the sustainable development of the biotechnology sector in the region.

The consortium also includes collaboration with the Tettamanti Foundation at Italy’s Monza Hospital as the reference center for pediatric leukemia that will help test the new drug now in development, as well as Insubria and Piedmont University who will help improve the chemistry of the nanoparticles and evaluate their cell impact.

About Cerbios-Pharma

Cerbios is a privately held company located in Lugano, Switzerland, that specializes in the development and manufacturing of both chemical and biological APIs for its partners world-wide.

Cerbios’ is a global leading supplier of a portfolio of Generic APIs primarily used in Oncology, as well as in the treatment Respiratory and Dermatological disorders.

Exclusive CDMO services are offered for the development and manufacturing of high potency active ingredients (HPAIs) as well as for biological products including monoclonal antibodies, recombinant proteins, antibody drug conjugates (ADCs) and pharma probiotics.

Cerbios provides full CMC support, including the supply of cGMP clinical batches, registration/validation material and commercially manufactured APIs, with paramount ability to supply all technical documentation and support necessary for successful registration. Cerbios’ commercial products are marketed worldwide, primarily in Europe, USA, Japan and India.

Since 2015, Cerbios has been a member of the ADC manufacture PROVEO™ consortium, forged with AGC Biologics of Denmark and with Germany’s Oncotec.

PROVEO can offer an ADCs end-to-end service from substance development through manufacturing to fill & finish.

About IRB

Founded in 2000 in Ticino’s capital, Bellinzona, Ticino, the Istituto di Ricerca in Biomedicina (IRB) was affiliated with the Università della Svizzera Italiana (USI) in 2010. Financed by private and public institutions and competitive financing, the IRB has 13 research groups and 110 researchers working on studying different defense mechanisms in the body to fight infections, tumors and degenerative diseases. With almost 530 publications in the main scientific journals, the IRB has gained international recognition as a center of excellence for immunology and cell biology.

Further information at:

About Myeloid Leukemia

Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML), which affects about 40,000 people every year in the West, is one of the forms of leukemia with a lower probability of survival. Current treatment calls for using high doses of chemotherapy that, however, are not tolerated by the weakest patients, typically children and people over 60 years old. In the absence of high-dose chemotherapy, the prognosis is very poor and there are high relapse rates. Chemotherapy drugs are toxic because they target and kill healthy cells, in addition to tumor cells.


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