Drug Research
Drug Discovery & Development

F-star, Denali Therapeutics partner to develop multispecific antibody platform

PBR Staff Writer Published 26 August 2016

UK-based biopharmaceutical firm F-star has signed a collaborative agreement with the US start-up Denali Therapeutics to develop a multispecific antibody platform for delivering therapeutics across the blood-brain barrier into the central nervous system (CNS).

The collaboration aims to generate constant Fc domains with antigen-binding activity (Fcabs) that can bind to transporters in the blood–brain barrier.

Through the platform, the companies said, Fcabs can be inserted quickly into any existing antibody to generate a full-sized bispecific antibody (mAb²) that can both cross the blood–brain barrier and bind to specific CNS targets.

F-star said the mechanism could treat neurological diseases by acting on particular targets in the brain.

Denali has agreed to pay an F-star asset-centric vehicle $6m upfront with an option to nominate a prespecified number of Fcab targets for development.

The US firm also has the option to acquire F-star Gamma asset centric vehicle prior to the initiation of the first phase I clinical trial in return for aggregate exercise and milestone payments to the F-star Gamma shareholders of up to $450 m in total.

If Denali does not exercise the option, it has the right it license an undisclosed prespecified number of mAb² based on each Fcab generated by F-star Gamma, in return for license fees, development, regulatory and commercial milestones payments with a potential aggregate value of $1bn and tiered royalties on product sales.

F-star CEO John Haurum said: “Our Modular Antibody Technology is ideally suited to deliver biologic drugs into the central nervous system across the blood-brain barrier.

“Denali’s scientists are world leaders in understanding the complex mechanisms of the blood-brain barrier and we look forward to collaborating with the team to unlock the potential of our platform and develop more efficient treatments for neurological disorders.”

Image: The Blood Brain Barrier and Astrocytes type 1. Photo: courtesy of Ben Brahim Mohammed.