Faron Pharmaceuticals Oy, the clinical stage biopharmaceutical company, has entered into an agreement with Swiss-based Selexis. Under the terms of the agreement, Faron will have access to the Selexis SUREtechnology Platform and SURE CHO-M Cell Line for the production of high-expressing and stable clonal cell lines for use in the development and production of Clevegen, its novel cancer immunotherapy antibody.
Selexis SUREtechnology will enable the rapid generation of high expressing clonal cells for the production of monoclonal antibodies. Selexis’ predictable expression levels and stability can provide significant benefits to Faron and the technology will facilitate the continued preclinical development of Clevegen as it moves towards clinical development.
Immunotherapy leverages the patient’s own natural immune response to combat cancer. It offers enormous potential in the treatment of cancer and is one of the most actively pursued areas of research by biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies.
Clevegen targets a cell surface receptor called Clever-1. When Clever-1 is blocked, tumour-associated macrophages (TAM) cannot enter the tumour site and their function in the tumour as an immune suppressive cell is diminished. Both these events change the tumour environment from immune suppression to immune stimulation, allowing the host immune system to fight the tumour cells.
Markku Jalkanen, CEO of Faron Pharmaceuticals, said: “TAMs have been recognized by scientists for years as a key control element in cancer immune biology. The recent licensing deal for up to $1.74 billion between Five Prime and Bristol-Myers Squibb, which included an upfront payment of $350 million for a Phase I trial in immuno-oncology, demonstrates the commercial potential to Faron for the successful development and commercialisation of Clevegen.”
“Faron expects that the agreement with Selexis will serve to significantly improve the chances of success and to accelerate this value realization for Faron stakeholders,” he added, concluding: “We look forward to working with Selexis on advancing our proprietary cancer immunotherapy programme, Clevegen, which aims to control tumour immunity and cancer growth. We believe that Clevegen is well differentiated from competing products as it specifically targets M2 TAMs which facilitate tumour growth, while leaving intact the M1 TAMs which support immune activation against tumours.”
Under the terms of the agreement, Selexis will establish the production clones for Clevegen for an ongoing service fee, and will also be entitled to certain milestone payments if Clevegen reaches defined clinical development stages and significant commercial sales.