Pharma Focus Europe

POINT Biopharma and Athebio Unveil Collaboration for the Development of Radioligands Targeting Designed Ankyrin Repeat Proteins

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

POINT Biopharma Global Inc. (NASDAQ: PNT), a company focused on advancing radiopharmaceuticals with the potential to transform lives, has announced a partnership and licensing agreement with Athebio AG ("Athebio"). Athebio is a leader in innovation when it comes to the discovery and design of Designed Ankyrin Repeat Proteins (DARPins). This collaboration aims to jointly develop and bring to market DARPin-targeted radioligands, referred to as Radio-DARPins.

DARPins represent an intriguing class of ligands that can effectively target cell surface proteins, providing access to "surfaceome" targets that are typically challenging for small molecules and peptides to reach. DARPins combine the advantages of small molecules, such as swift tumor penetration and efficient bodily clearance, with the ability to bind to a broader range of proteins and other cell surface targets, akin to antibodies. These DARPins offer various customizable formatting options, including stability at high concentrations and temperatures, which facilitates the rapid discovery, validation, and large-scale manufacturing for both fast (212Pb) and slower (177Lu, 225Ac) decaying isotopes.

Within this partnership, POINT gains exclusive access to Athebio's intellectual property and expertise in DARPin development within the radioligand therapy sector. The two entities will collaborate on discovering potential candidates, selecting them, and undertaking preclinical development of Athebody® DARPins for use as Radio-DARPin drug candidates. POINT will assume sole responsibility for the clinical development and commercialization of Radio-DARPins that result from this collaboration.

Joe McCann, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of POINT Biopharma, highlighted the significance of this collaboration, expressing, The ultimate goal in radioligand development is the ability to engineer ligands capable of precisely delivering radiation while maintaining physical properties that resist radiolytic damage, allowing for large-scale manufacturing. DARPins hold potential in this regard and could open new avenues for the development of novel targeted radioligand therapies that can access previously unreachable cell surface targets. I am excited about this collaboration with Athebio, who are experts in DARPin technology, as it significantly expands our toolkit for engineering next-generation radioligands.

Patrik Forrer, one of the pioneers behind DARPin technology and CEO and Chairman of Athebio, shared his enthusiasm about the partnership, stating, We are thrilled to join forces with POINT. POINT holds a unique position in the radiotherapy field and shares our commitment to unlocking the full potential of Athebody® DARPins for developing radiopharmaceuticals that can benefit patients in need. The exceptional properties of our Athebody® DARPins make them ideally suited for targeting radioisotopes. Specifically, their high stability should simplify the process of conjugating them to radioisotopes, and their small size, along with their high-affinity binding and precise specificity, should result in superior tumor targeting. The convergence of these attributes holds immense promise for pushing the boundaries of radiotherapy.

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