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A new mouse for Deerfield
August 2018
by Mel J. Yeates  |  Email the author
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BURLINGAME, Calif. & NEW YORK—In June came the announcement of the acquisition of Ablexis by Deerfield Management. This deal is said to create a “long-term partnership” that will enable Ablexis to expand industry access to its AlivaMab Mouse technology, the company’s transgenic mouse platform for human antibody drug discovery.
 
AlivaMab Mouse is said to be the only transgenic animal with immunoglobulin transgene function, antibody composition and variable gene endowment optimized to surmount the challenges of both antibody drug discovery and antibody drug development.
 
“We are excited to partner with the Ablexis and AlivaMab Discovery Services teams, which are comprised of trusted leaders in building and using transgenic mice for discovery of therapeutic antibody candidates. We look forward to expanding access to the industry’s superior next-generation antibody drug discovery platform,” stated Dr. Cameron Wheeler, a principal at Deerfield.
 
According to Deerfield Management and Ablexis spokespeople, “Deerfield was looking for assets in the antibody space. An attorney familiar with both Ablexis and Deerfield made the introduction. Cameron Wheeler, principal in the Private Transactions group at Deerfield, was familiar with Ablexis and its founding team. Once connected with Ablexis, Deerfield—together with Ablexis management—built the vision of expanding the business strategies and offerings. Then all the parties agreed that the timing was right for Deerfield to acquire Ablexis.”
 
Asked if Deerfield and Ablexis had worked together before, the spokespeople commented, “Not directly, but indirectly through each party’s relationship with Tri-Institutional Therapeutics Discovery Institute Inc. (Tri-I TDI). Tri-I TDI is a licensee of Ablexis’ AlivaMab Mouse Technology. Deerfield, through its founding and ownership in Bridge Medicines and the relationship with Tri-I TDI, already was a potential beneficiary of the productivity of the AlivaMab Mouse. The platform’s performance and output at Tri-I TDI impressed [Deerfield].”
 
Ablexis and Deerfield also announced the founding of AlivaMab Discovery Services, with John “Lippy” Lippincott joining as vice president of research.
 
AlivaMab Discovery Services will provide antibody discovery services leveraging the AlivaMab Mouse platform and the management team’s expertise and hands-on experience in leading and conducting antibody drug discovery and development.
 
“Ablexis is uniquely differentiated in the antibody drug discovery industry. The AlivaMab Mouse platform is validated for the rapid and efficient discovery of antibody drug candidates that meet target product profiles for activity, specificity and developability. A majority of the world’s top 15 pharmaceutical companies have licensed and are using AlivaMab Mouse at over a dozen sites,” said Dr. Larry Green, CEO of Ablexis and AlivaMab Discovery Services (ADS).
 
The acquisition of Ablexis by Deerfield and the founding of AlivaMab Discovery Services will reportedly support Ablexis in enabling biopharma companies of all sizes, from global pharma to virtual, plus academic and other entities, to access the AlivaMab Mouse technology for the discovery and development of therapeutic antibodies that deliver potentially new treatment options for patients.
 
Ablexis will now formally offer licensing models that include annual renewable non-exclusive licenses and individual target non-exclusive licenses. Ablexis will also continue to offer its successful founding model of perpetual non-exclusive licenses.
 
“Seeking to build on the value of AlivaMab Mouse, we founded AlivaMab Discovery Services as a result of repeatedly hearing the needs of prospective partners wanting to outsource antibody drug discovery to a scientifically driven organization led by a team with in-the-trenches experience and real understanding of therapeutic antibody discovery,” said Green. “We look forward to formally launching service provision in the coming months.
 
“Together with Deerfield, Ablexis is pleased to continue expansion of the use of AlivaMab Mouse through ongoing licensing to organizations with in-house antibody discovery capabilities combined with better serving organizations seeking to outsource antibody drug discovery through the launch of AlivaMab Discovery Services.”
 
“Deerfield anticipates a majority of ADS clients will not be Deerfield affiliates or portfolio companies. We believe there is substantial interest in services for discovery of therapeutic antibody candidates. Our market analysis revealed a need across a spectrum of types of biopharma companies for a contract research organization focused on, and led by a team experienced in, therapeutic antibody discovery, particularly one using a transgenic system such as AlivaMab Mouse,” the Ablexis and Deerfield spokespeople note. “Additionally, advancing healthcare is core to Deerfield’s mission. The AlivaMab Mouse and the expert capabilities to be offered by AlivaMab Discovery Services can help get disease treatments to patients faster, so Deerfield would like there to be broad access.
 
“With Deerfield’s acquisition of Ablexis now completed, Ablexis will continue to expand its licensing of the AlivaMab Mouse to a broader market and will explore new opportunities. For ADS, near-term plans include establishing core services and offerings, then growing to become a premier company offering services in discovery and early development of therapeutic antibody candidates.”
 
“What Deerfield, Ablexis and ADS all find most exciting is to be working together on a common vision to expand access to AlivaMab Mouse for the discovery of new human therapeutic antibody candidates with the potential to help patients. For companies lacking capabilities in conducting therapeutic antibody discovery in-house, ADS will fill the gap, applying the team’s combined decades of in-the-trenches experience in antibody drug discovery and development to clients’ projects,” the spokespeople conclude.
 
Code: E081825

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