Velabs and Chiome team up to discover GPCR antibodies

The collaboration will see Velabs compensated by the Japanese company for the use of its microfluidics-based technology in the field of functional antibody screening

Velabs Therapeutics specialises in the fast generation of functional therapeutic antibodies. The German company has entered into an agreement with Chiome Bioscience, Tokyo, to jointly discover modulatory and functional antibodies for one of Chiome’s G-Protein Coupled Receptor (GPCR) target genes.

Under the terms of the agreement, Velabs will receive an upfront payment after a successful first feasibility study and milestone payments upon the achievement of specific development and regulatory events. In addition, Velabs will also be eligible to receive tiered royalties and milestones on the worldwide sales of products that arise from the collaboration.

Chiome Bioscience will then use its exclusive licence of the ADLib antibody generation technology from RIKEN. Chiome has several preclinical and clinical development programmes for its therapeutic antibodies using this platform.

Yukoh Nakazaki, Head of Antibody Research Laboratories of Chiome Bioscience, said: “We opted for Velabs’ microfluidic screening technology in order to optimise time and productivity of discovering therapeutic antibodies against GPCRs. We look forward to obtaining promising hits, which can ultimately give rise to preclinical candidates through this collaboration.”

Velabs Therapeutics is a recent startup company of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), focusing on microfluidic technology for screening of antibodies with modulatory function on complex signal proteins like GPCRs or ion channels. The high-throughput screening platform allows testing of millions of correctly paired fully natural IgGs from humans and mice for therapeutic effects, rather than just for binding. Results are obtained in less time than required by other technologies.

Besides carrying out service projects, the startup is currently also establishing its own proprietary pipeline of therapeutic antibody candidates for further joint development with pharma partners.

Christoph Antz, Managing Director of Velabs, said that this agreement represents an important deal for Velabs, who target clinical applications with unmet medical need.

Christoph Merten, scientific founder and CSO of Velabs, added of the screening platform: “It combines for the first time Velabs capacities of screening and generation of functional antibodies on complex signal proteins like GPCRs with Chiome’s target specific know-how for a fast and straightforward preclinical validation path.”