​Crystal Bioscience today announced an expansion of its agreement to collaborate with Boehringer Ingelheim on the discovery and development of therapeutic antibodies.

Crystal Bioscience will continue to apply its proprietary gel encapsulated microenvironment (GEM) technology to identify antibodies meeting the design goals set by Boehringer Ingelheim. Under the expanded agreement, Boehringer Ingelheim will now have access to Crystal’s HuMab chickens, which are genetically engineered to yield human sequence antibodies. Today’s announcement builds on an initial collaboration, which started in January 2014.

Boehringer Ingelheim is the fourth collaborator to access Crystal’s HuMab chickens since the antibody discovery platform was launched earlier this year.  Boehringer Ingelheim will have the option to conduct further development and commercialization of the antibodies.  Under the terms of the agreement, Crystal will receive an upfront technology access fee and research funding for each program, and may receive technical success fees, option exercise fees and downstream payments.

"We are pleased to expand our relationship with Boehringer Ingelheim to include the HuMab discovery platform,” said Robert J Etches, President & CEO of Crystal Bioscience. “The human platform retains the broad epitope coverage and access to pan-mammalian antibodies that is characteristic of our original wild type platform. In addition, the HuMab platform facilitates advancement into clinical studies by obviating the need to humanize candidate mAbs.”

Crystal is the leader in discovery of avian antibodies for use as therapeutics, and its platform can access new binding epitopes, which are unavailable by other more traditional approaches.  Most importantly, this platform provides Boehringer Ingelheim the opportunity to discover cross-species reactive antibodies that complement its approach to biotherapeutics research and will ideally streamline and accelerate the drug discovery process.

“Boehringer Ingelheim looks forward to expanding our relationship with Crystal Bioscience as this technology enhances our ability to accelerate development of new therapies,” said Clive R. Wood, Ph.D., Senior Corporate Vice President, Discovery Research at Boehringer Ingelheim.  “This alliance is yet another example of Boehringer Ingelheim’s strategic approach to collaborations that speed the research and development of vital treatments for unmet patient needs,” added Wood.

About Crystal Bioscience

Crystal Bioscience is a privately held company that was founded in 2008 to develop a world-class therapeutic antibody discovery engine using chickens. Its platform is "powered by evolution," exploiting the large phylogenetic distance between mammals and birds to generate a diverse array of antibodies to human targets that have proven intractable in mammalian and other discovery platforms.

Crystal’s patented platform provides the unique ability to isolate monoclonal antibodies from immunized chickens, and can screen simultaneously for specificity and biological activity. It has led to the discovery of bioactive monoclonals directed against difficult targets, including GPCRs and ion channels. Chicken antibodies often recognize both human and mouse orthologs, which can simplify early stages of drug development where mouse disease models are used.

The depth of screening provided by the GEM assay in combination with the breadth of the antibody repertoire in immunized birds provides access to an unparalleled source of affinity matured antibodies with therapeutic potential.  Crystal’s HuMab chickens, which are genetically engineered to yield fully human sequence mAbs, capture the attributes of the chicken repertoire in a therapeutic format.

Source: Crystal Bioscience