AUSTIN, Texas—XBiotech Inc. recently achieved a crucial milestone in the development of its next-generation inflammation-fighting True Human antibodies after scientists there discovered and characterized a panel of new anti-IL-1⍺ antibodies from a human donor earlier this year.
The company says that its team “has worked diligently through the COVID-19 crisis to clone the genes for the antibodies into cells that can be used for production of these novel therapeutics” for human clinical trials and, ultimately if approved, commercial sales.
The new antibody targets damaging inflammation by neutralizing interleukin-1alpha (IL-1α), an inflammatory substance produced by the body and which is involved in diseases such as cancer, arthritis and cardiovascular indications. The company recently announced promising new results that were published in the American Heart Association’s journal, Circulation, where antibody therapy targeting IL-1⍺ was found to significantly reduce stroke related brain injury and neurological deficit in animals.
XBiotech is developing this new line of antibodies to replace a previous generation True Human anti-IL-1⍺ antibody that was sold in 2019 for $750 million in cash and up to $600 million in milestone payments. Under terms of the sale, XBiotech was permitted to pursue discovery of new True Human anti-IL-1⍺ antibodies for use in all areas of medicine with the exception of dermatology.
“Our scientists and all members of the team have worked diligently to overcome the COVID-19 challenges, and to keep us on schedule to re-enter the clinic in 2021,” said Sushma Shivaswamy, the company’s chief scientific officer. “We believe that the new molecule has the potential to be another blockbuster therapeutic with proven industry appeal. Having a production platform is a significant step toward realizing this goal.”
XBiotech’s True Human antibodies are reportedly the only available antibodies derived without modification from humans who possess natural immunity to certain diseases.. This puts them in contrast to commercially available antibodies, that are called “humanized” or “fully human.” According to the company, the True Human antibodies are directly sourced from the natural human immune response for specific diseases without modification and have the potential to harness the body’s natural immunity to fight disease “with unprecedented safety, efficacy and tolerability.”