Cambridge biopharmaceutical company has developed antibodies using its genomically modified mouse
Kymab, a UK-based biopharmaceutical company founded on research from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, has engineered a mouse with the full set of genes encoding the human antibody repertoire.
The Kymouse has an enormous range of human antibodies which can be developed as potent drugs to treat a variety of human diseases such as cancer, autoimmune and infectious diseases.
The Cambridge-based company describes its therapeutic antibody discovery technology for the first time in the journal Nature Biotechnology.
Antibodies are one of the best-selling classes of drugs today because they are natural products with exquisite specificity and potency, and generally have superior safety profiles. The challenge has been to capture the full human antibody repertoire and to recapitulate all of its attributes.
Professor Allan Bradley, Founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Kymab, said: 'This is a remarkable achievement in our journey towards delivering therapeutic antibodies and to facilitate vaccine development.
'Kymab scientists have completed the most ambitious humanisation project of the mouse genome ever undertaken, with 5.4 million bases of human DNA, representing 0.1% of the human genome inserted into the appropriate place in the mouse genome.'
Kymab scientists have completed the most ambitious humanisation project of the mouse genome ever undertaken
Dr Christian Grøndahl, Chief Executive of Kymab, said: 'Antibodies discovered using Kymouse strains are essentially ready to be developed as drugs. We are building a rich pipeline of therapeutics in five areas: haematology, oncology, auto-immunity, pain and cardiovascular disease. This technology offers great potential to advance patient care in diseases with significant unmet medical need.'
Kymab says mice with portions of the human antibody repertoire have been developed previously. However, the technology used at the time proved unsuitable for moving the very large stretches of DNA from the human genome into the mouse. As a result, their antibody gene repertoires were both incomplete and in the wrong location in the genome.
Kymab scientists took a different approach and moved these vast stretches of DNA into the mouse genome in a series of steps each with a smaller segment of DNA, carefully re-joining them and thereby re-constructing the complete human repertoire in the correct place in the mouse genome.
By using the Kymouse technology, Kymab can pursue the targeting of the most challenging drug targets from complicated ion channels and GPCRs to deeply hidden epitopes in heavily glycosylated virus proteins.
To make these sophisticated resources widely available, Kymab has created Kymab Access, a programme that enables academic researchers to pursue the discovery and development of novel human monoclonal antibody therapeutics by partnering with Kymab and its Kymouse technology.
Kymab concluded its first Kymouse antibody discovery agreement with Novo Nordisk in 2013.
Founded in 2009, Kymab raised £20m of equity financing in 2010.