Lyon and Illkirch-Graffenstaden, 2 July 2015, BIOTECH ELSALYS, a biopharmaceutical company that designs and develops "first-in-class" therapeutic antibodies against cancer and inflammatory diseases, today announced the acquisition of the development and marketing rights of the anti-CD160 antibody from the company MABLIFE. As the anti-CD160 antibody has shown its efficacy in cancer and eye disease animal models, ELSALYS BIOTECH has already initiated the preclinical evaluation of different humanised versions of this antibody in age-related macular degeneration, an eye disease associated with uncontrolled vascular proliferation. The result of this study, which should lead to the selection of a first drug candidate, is expected in the first half of 2016.
Originates from the work of Dr Armand BENSUSSAN (Centre de Recherche sur la Peau, UMR 976, University Paris Diderot, St Louis Hospital) and Dr Philippe LE BOUTEILLER (Centre de Physiopathologie Toulouse-Purpan, INSERM UMR 1043, CNRS UMR 5282, University of Toulouse III), the anti-CD160 antibody has a dual mechanism of action: it triggers the death of new blood vessels associated with tumours and certain eye diseases (anti-angiogenic effect) and stimulates the action of immune tumours killers (immunomodulatory effect). This unique dual property has lead ELSALYS BIOTECH to develop two versions of the anti-CD160 antibody: the first (anti-angiogenic effect only) is for the treatment of vascular eye diseases and the second (which combines anti-angiogenic and immunomodulator effects) target cancer.
"The anti-angiogenic effect of anti-CD160 is really new. Unlike other drugs of its class, anti-CD160 does not deprive the new blood vessels of growth factor to hinder their development, but induces their death while preserving the existing vessels", said Dr Philippe LE BOUTEILLER. "With this antibody, we are thus able to reduce new retinal vessels in mice eyes with retinopathy".
"By combining anti-CD160 with chemotherapy, we were also able to reduce the tumour burden and prolong the survival of mice with aggressive tumours, such as melanoma or fibrosarcoma", said Dr Armand BENSUSSAN. "The antibody appears to starve the tumour by reducing the number of new intra-tumour vessels, facilitate the delivery of chemotherapy by stabilising existing vessels, but also stimulate the activity of NK cells and T lymphocytes".
"The acquisition of anti-CD160 is obviously a great opportunity for a company like ours", said Dr Christine GUILLEN, CEO and co-founder of ELSALYS BIOTECH. "With this antibody, we not only strengthen our position in antibody immunotherapy, but we reach a stage of maturity that allows us to envisage more rapid development and thus reinforce the commitment of our investors. In addition, it demonstrates once again that the expertise and experience of our team make a difference when it comes to identifying gems with very strong therapeutic potential".