SAN DIEGO & TOKYO—Bright Peak Therapeutics Inc. and Ajinomoto Co., the owner of Ajinomoto Bio-Pharma Services, have announced a research collaboration and exclusive license agreement to incorporate AJICAP — Ajinomoto’s proprietary site-specific bioconjugation technology — into the development of Bright Peak Immunocytokines.
Bright Peak Therapeutics uses ligation technology to chemically synthesize therapeutic cytokines by ligating customized peptide segments together. This proprietary platform reportedly provides the flexibility to both tune and enhance cytokine biology through affinity modification and orthogonal, site-specific conjugation.
“We are delighted to announce the collaboration with Ajinomoto Co. to develop our proprietary Immunocytokines using AJICAP technology. The AJICAP conjugation technology is ideally suited to conjugate our enhanced cytokines as payloads to antibodies in the cancer and autoimmune field,” noted Dr. Sef Kurstjens, president and CEO of Bright Peak.
AJICAP is a proprietary site-specific bioconjugation technology compatible with commonly-used antibody isotypes. The AJICAP technology has the advantage of an “off-the-shelf” feature — allowing any therapeutic antibody at any stage of development to be conjugated to drug-payloads of choice, without the need for antibody engineering or cell line development.
“Ajinomoto Co. and Ajinomoto Bio-Pharma Services are very excited to collaborate with Bright Peak in the development of targeted Immunocytokines,” added Dr. Tatsuya Okuzumi, associate general manager of the Research and Business Planning Department at Ajinomoto. “The ability to direct potent, homogeneous immune-signaling molecules to tumors and the tumor microenvironment may provide enhanced antitumor clinical benefit through immune cell cytotoxic activity. The combination of Bright Peak’s cytokine payloads with Ajinomoto Co.’s AJICAP opens up a wide range of oncology applications, and may be harnessed to provide a clinical benefit to patients.”
As part of the collaboration and license agreement, the AJICAP technology will be used to conjugate Bright Peak’s enhanced cytokines as payloads to certain antibodies — creating novel, proprietary Bright Peak Immunocytokines. These Immunocytokines will allow tissue- and cell-specific targeting of the cytokine payload, with added potential for synergistic efficacy through potency-enhancing avidity effects.
Bright Peak will receive exclusive worldwide rights to use the AJICAP technology for the conjugation of certain cytokine payloads — including, but not limited to, interleukin-2 — as part of the agreement, which covers the development of multiple Immunocytokine molecules. Bright Peak will make an exclusivity payment, and Ajinomoto Co. is eligible to receive development, regulatory, and commercial milestone payments, as well as royalties on commercial sales.