A rock-solid partnership

Rockland, NCI collaboration announces release of new antibodies

Kelsey Kaustinen
GILBERTSVILLE, Pa.—Rockland Immunochemicals recentlyannounced the release of 95 antibodies as a result of a partnership with theNational Cancer Institute (NCI). The antibodies, which are involved in signaltransduction and cancer research, were developed in conjunction with the NCI'sCenter for Cancer Research (CCR).
 
 
"These Rockland antibodies are of high interest for thecancer research community broadly and are important tools to the advance ofpromising cancer research, diagnostics and therapies," says Richard Smith,chief operating officer at Rockland. "Rockland is intent on continuouslyenhancing our portfolio of highly characterized antibodies and other reagentscritical to the life sciences."
 
 
The partnership between Rockland and the CCR began in 2005for the development of rabbit polyclonal antibodies "against key phospho andnon-phosphoproteins implicated in cancer," according to the website of theOffice of Science and Technology Partnerships of the CCR. An amendment wasadded in 2011 that also includes the development of mouse monoclonalantibodies. Dr. Shoshana Segal, assistant director for technology developmentin the Office of Science and Technology Partnerships, says the organization wasintroduced to Rockland by the leader of one of its core facilities, which hadbeen engaged with Rockland in a fee-for-service agreement.
 
 
"When we first met with Rocklandand presented our partnership plan, they showed enthusiasm for working with ourscientists regardless of their investment," says Segal. "The company recognizedthe benefit of working with thought leaders in cancer research. Our scientistsknow the most important antigens to target for antibody development.Furthermore, our laboratories possess a wide variety of model systems, whichare ideally suited for testing and validating the quality and usability of theantibodies.
 
"We are now seven years down theroad, and the relationship is still going strong," she adds. "It has been agreat opportunity for our investigators to work with Rockland scientists andhave their desired antibodies developed."
 
According to Segal, Rockland hassuccessfully developed and delivered to investigators 80 antibodies, a majorityof which have been marketed, and 40 others are at different stages ofdevelopment.
 
 
"Rockland's antibody technology platform continues to bewidely received by the research and biopharma community," James Fendrick, CEOof Rockland, said in a press release. "We anticipate continued success in ourantibody efforts with NCI to discover and develop both novel and existingantibody targets that have broad application in the life-science markets."
 
 
Rockland's antibody work spans avariety of indications, including cancer, immunology, cardiovascular,neuroscience, stem cells and developmental biology. Antibodies have gainedsignificant popularity in the field of cancer in particular, and Smith notes,"the commercial potential is tremendous."
 
 
"Today, many drugs approvedfor release are large-molecule therapeutics composed of antibodies. Thesebiologics, along with small-molecule drugs, create a need and demand forcompanion diagnostics whose foundation is also antibody-based. Antibodies arecritical to diagnostics and therapies that will make affordable, personalizedcancer care possible," he adds. "More precise delivery of cancer therapies bothincreases the quality of care and enhances cost management."
 
Smith notes that Rockland iscurrently involved in more than 25 collaborations in addition to the NCIagreement. Its other partners include Scripps Research Institute, NYU LangoneMedical Center, Emory University and Lankenau Institute for Medical Research.He says the company is a strong believer in collaborations, and is "in activediscussion" with other organizations in both academia and industry. 
 
"The pace of scientificdiscovery will be set by organizations that form partnerships to build a betterunderstanding of the disease process. Financial necessity is the mother ofcollaboration today," Smith states. "But, more importantly, the combination ofacademic and industrial know-how forges sheer brilliance and entrepreneurialspirit into a single potent force. Those leaders who capture and combineeffectively the mindshare of top scientists and entrepreneurs will deliverresults at a higher rate. Simply, these partnerships encourage worthyinnovation and exacting financial discipline that together produce commerciallysustainable scientific achievement." 
 
 
Emory University
http://www.emory.edu/
 
Lankenau Institute for MedicalResearch http://www.limr.org/
 

Kelsey Kaustinen

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