Dualogics Sells Antibody Platform to Canadian Company
Durham-based Dualogics has sold its core technology for producing therapeutic antibodies to a Canadian biotechnology company.
Under the terms of the asset purchase agreement, AbCellera of Vancouver, British Columbia, acquired full rights to the OrthoMab platform, and Dualogics retained rights to develop existing internal assets and to complete existing partnership programs. Other terms were not disclosed.
OrthoMab is a clinically validated platform that uses computational and experimental protein engineering methods to combine any two existing antibody sequences to create “bispecific” antibodies that are 99 percent identical to natural human antibodies. Bispecific antibodies are a relatively new class of protein-based antibody drugs that can bind to two different targets simultaneously.
By integrating OrthoMab into its existing technology, AbCellera said it could provide the biopharmaceutical industry with the fastest path for generating tailored, stable and developable bispecific antibodies that meet the needs of the growing $140 billion biologics market.
“Bispecifics have opened new vistas for antibody therapeutics and are the fastest growing format in clinical development,” said Carl Hansen, Ph.D., chief executive officer of AbCellera. “Through our partnerships, we’ll democratize access to leading bispecific technology across the industry, connecting science with technology to bring new therapies to the clinic.”
Tim Jacobs, Ph.D., who led multiple bispecific antibody programs as chief technical officer of Dualogics, joined AbCellera’s team in early August. He brings 10 years of protein-engineering expertise and has pioneered numerous computational and experimental strategies to design, modify and enhance protein-based therapies.
“AbCellera’s deep technical expertise and industry-leading discovery pipeline uniquely position them to make the most of the OrthoMab platform,” said Jacobs, senior research scientist at AbCellera. “I am extremely excited to be joining the AbCellera team and look forward to bringing best-in-class bispecific and protein-engineering capabilities to our partners.”
Dualogics to continue protein-engineering work
With the sale of its OrthoMab platform, Dualogics retained rights to all partnerships and drug candidates that were in development prior to the transaction with AbCellera.
“In the near term, Dualogics will advance these therapeutic programs and continue work on its novel biologics discovery and optimization platform,” said Ryan Hallett, Ph.D., the company’s co-founder and chief executive officer. “This new technology builds upon the strengths of OrthoMab and will enable Dualogics to bring our protein-engineering expertise into new therapeutic modalities.”
Dualogics was spun out of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2015 with financial support from the North Carolina Biotechnology Center.
A $50,000 grant from NCBiotech to UNC researchers in 2015 helped advance what soon became Dualogics' technology. A $75,000 NCBiotech loan in 2017 helped the company further develop the technology. The Biotech Center also provided a loan to Dualogics in 2018 for $250,000.
Dualogics has subsequently been supported by grants from the National Cancer Institute and UNC’s Kickstart Venture Services.
AbCellera is a privately held biotech company with a drug discovery platform that searches and analyzes natural immune systems to find antibodies that can be used to prevent and treat disease.
The company’s technology combines high-throughput microfluidics, hyper-scale data science, machine learning, bioinformatics and genomics to identify new first-in-class drugs and reduce the time required to bring treatments to the clinic.
AbCellera’s partners include leading biotechnology companies, global health organizations, and many of the top 10 biopharmaceutical companies.