An alliance for drug development

UCLA researchers to select candidates for development with Xencor’s modular XmAb platforms

Feb 25, 2021
DDNews Staff
An alliance for drug development

LOS ANGELES & MONROVIA, Calif.—Xencor, Inc., a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing engineered monoclonal antibodies and cytokines for treating cancer and autoimmune diseases, and UCLA Technology Development Group (UCLA TDG) have reported an agreement to develop novel therapeutic antibodies. The agreement will pair novel targets proposed by scientists at UCLA and Xencor’s modular suite of XmAb technology platforms.

Xencor’s XmAb platforms are precisely engineered antibody Fc domains, which enable the creation of stable new protein structures like bispecific antibodies and engineered cytokines. The technology can also be used for the amplification of natural immune functions such as extending circulating half-life, or enhancing immune cell cytotoxicity. 

“The creation of exciting new therapeutic modalities requires advancing innovative biological concepts together with state-of-the-art molecular platforms to build best-in-class biologics. The inherent modularity and stability provided by our XmAb platforms, and our ability to precisely tune a molecule’s target-binding capability, opens the door to evaluate the clinical potential of biology that was previously considered intractable,” noted Dr. John Desjarlais, senior vice president and chief scientific officer at Xencor. “We look forward to collaborating with UCLA’s investigators to translate their biological insights into potential medicines.”

Xencor and its pharmaceutical partners are currently advancing 20 clinical-stage XmAb-engineered drug candidates for the treatment of patients with life-threatening and debilitating diseases. Two of these antibodies have been approved by the FDA — one for the treatment of patients with rare blood disorders, and the other for an aggressive form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

“With this collaboration, we aim to accelerate the development of potential new biologic medicines, leveraging Xencor’s protein engineering technologies and expertise and the ongoing scientific discoveries and insights into disease biology made at UCLA, with the ultimate goal to improve patient outcomes and quality of life,” added Mark A. Wisniewski, senior director of Biopharmaceuticals at UCLA TDG.

The UCLA Technology Development Group will work with faculty to propose potential antibody drug candidates. Xencor and UCLA have established a streamlined framework with predefined terms to select promising biology, perform collaborative research, and license intellectual property. For selected candidates, the collaborators will enter sponsored research agreements and potential license agreements.

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