Utrecht, The Netherlands — Merus B.V., a leader in developing best-in-class bispecific antibody therapeutics to treat cancer patients, and Selexis SA, a serial innovation company with proven technologies for biologics drug discovery and Research Cell Bank (RCB) development, today announced the award of the EUREKA Eurostars grant “BiSECT” with a total budget of €2.1 million to develop bispecific antibody combination products for the treatment of colorectal cancer.
In the program, Merus and Selexis will combine their unique and proprietary Oligoclonics® and SUREtechnology™ platforms respectively to develop a product combining two bispecific full length IgG antibodies that simultaneously targets and potently inhibits three receptor tyrosine kinases. The lead Oligoclonics® candidate was discovered as part of a previous EUREKA program and will be produced from a single manufacturing cell line developed by Selexis.
“Combining drugs is at the heart of therapeutic approaches to cancer,” said Mark Throsby, CSO of Merus. “Bispecific antibody combinations have potency and targeting advantages that provide the basis for improved anti-cancer therapies. With the best-in-class RCB generation capabilities of Selexis on board, the existing knowledge and infrastructure for the manufacturing of therapeutic monoclonal antibodies is optimally leveraged. This collaboration represents an important step towards affordable combination therapies for cancer.”
“The unique SUREtechnology platform™ based on a proprietary cell line will deliver an unprecedented timeline from transfection to RCB in just 12 weeks,” said Dr. Igor Fisch, CEO of Selexis SA. “With our optimized off the shelf CHO media and feeds we will maximize expression of the bispecific antibody combinations generated from Merus’ Oligoclonics® platform. This will save the project substantial cost and time and facilitate a more rapid delivery of innovative therapeutics to cancer patients.”
About Eurostars: Eurostars is a programme that supports research-performing small and medium enterprises, which develop innovative products, processes and services, to gain competitive advantage. Eurostars does this by providing funding for transnational innovation projects. The Eurostars programme is publicly financed with a total budget of 1.14 billion euro and is currently supported by 34 EUREKA countries and the European Union.
About Merus B.V.
Merus is a Dutch biotechnology company developing cancer therapeutics based on human bispecific antibodies. Merus’ bispecific antibodies have the robust and proven full-length IgG format, they are manufactured using industry standard processes and have predictable in vivo behavior such as long half-life and low immunogenicity. Merus has two lead programs in development, MCLA-128 for the treatment of HER2 expressing solid tumors, and MCLA-117 for the treatment of acute myeloid leukemia and myelodysplastic syndrome. The company is also developing a broad pipeline of preclinical programs in immuno-oncology using its unique technology platforms. Please visit www.merus.nl.
About Selexis SA
Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, Selexis SA is a global life science company with innovative technologies for biologic drug discovery, mammalian cell line development and scale-up to manufacturing of recombinant therapeutic proteins. With the Company’s SUREtechnology Platform™ biopharmaceutical companies can significantly reduce the time, effort, and costs associated with developing high-performance mammalian cell lines for the production of monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) and other recombinant proteins including difficult-to-express proteins such as plasma proteins, GPCRs and non-natural proteins such as fusion proteins. Selexis generated cell lines are being used in a variety of programs from drug discovery to late-stage clinical trials.