TORONTO, March 17, 2014 /CNW/ - Amorfix Life Sciences, a product
development company focused on diagnostics and therapeutics for
misfolded protein diseases, today announced that it has entered into a
collaboration with Trellis Bioscience to develop antibodies against
misfolded CD38 protein as a treatment for haematological malignancies
including leukemia and lymphoma.
Trellis is a private, South San Francisco-based therapeutic antibody
company formed around a breakthrough discovery platform capable of
isolating therapeutic grade antibodies directly from the blood cells of
humans. The Company's discovery platform, called CellSpotTM, uses computerized microscopy to drastically miniaturize a multiplexed
antigen binding assay capable of characterizing millions of individual
antibody producing B cells. Hence, CellSpot enables discovery of very
rare high quality human antibodies usually not detectable with standard
Amorfix's ProMIS™ Discovery technology identifies disease specific
epitopes (DSE's) that are present only on diseased cells. Together,
the complementary technologies will enable the companies to isolate and
develop fully human therapeutic antibodies that will target only cancer
cells and not healthy ones. Under the terms of the collaboration,
Amorfix will have an exclusive option to develop any resulting
"We are very pleased to be working together with Trellis to develop
tumor selective antibody therapeutics for the treatment of blood cell
cancers", said Dr. Robert Gundel, Amorfix President and CEO. "This
collaboration is a great example of two companies with complementary
expertise, technology and capabilities joining forces to develop the
next generation of targeted therapeutics. CD38 represents an
attractive target for the development of a therapeutic for the
treatment of diseases like multiple myeloma and leukemia. Our product
will be the first anti-CD38 antibody that binds to the misfolded CD38
protein expressed on the cell surface of tumor cells making it a
selective tumor killer while having no affect on normal cells."
Stefan Ryser, Ph.D., Trellis President and CEO said: "This collaboration
with Amorfix is an important step in further extending our innovative
cancer program that emerged from our discovery of antibodies against
various cancer antigens in the blood of healthy donors. As we have
explored the memory B-cells of healthy and disease survivor blood
donors, we have detected rare high affinity antibodies that potentially
protect those individuals from cancers and other diseases. Our CellSpot
technology provides the ability to scan through millions of candidate
antibodies in order to find the rare protective antibodies. By cloning
those antibodies, we have the opportunity to provide that protection to
CD38 is a protein that is highly expressed on the surface of a variety
of white blood cells and has been implicated in a number of hematologic
malignancies including multiple myeloma, chronic lymphocytic leukemia,
B-cell lymphoma, acute lymphoblastic leukemia, acute myeloid leukemia,
follicular lymphoma and mantle cell lymphoma.
Antibodies that bind to misfolded CD38 have the potential to only kill
tumor cells, and not normal cells, through a variety of ways including
the recruitment of the body's immune system for complement-dependent
cytotoxicity (CDC), antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity
(ADCC), induced cell death (apoptosis) as well as by blocking or
modulating CD38 enzymatic activity.
About Hematologic Malignancies
Hematological malignancies account for about 10% of new cancer diagnoses
in the United States and the UK which translates into 200,000 people being affected each
year. Within this category, lymphomas are more common than leukemias.
Historically, hematological malignancies have been most commonly
divided by whether the malignancy is mainly located in the blood (leukemia or in lymph nodes (lymphomas).
Multiple myeloma is a cancer of plasma cells, a type of white blood cell normally responsible for producing antibodies. In multiple myeloma, collections of abnormal plasma cells accumulate
in the bone marrow, where they interfere with the production of normal blood cells.
Myeloma is diagnosed with blood tests, bone marrow examination, urine protein analysis, and X-rays of commonly involved bones.
Myeloma develops in 1-4 per 100,000 people per year. It is more common
in men and, for reasons not fully understood, is twice as common in African-Americans as it is in European-Americans. With conventional treatment, median survival is 3-4 years, which may
be extended to 5-7 years or longer with advanced treatments. Multiple
myeloma is the second most common hematological malignancy in the U.S. (after non-Hodgkin lymphoma), and constitutes 1% of all cancers.
Chronic lymphoid leukemia (CLL), is the most common type of leukemia. Leukemias are cancers of the white blood cells. CLL affects B cell lymphocytes. B cells originate in the bone marrow, develop in the lymph nodes, and
normally fight infection by producing antibodies. In CLL, B cells grow out of control and accumulate in the bone marrow and blood, where they interfere with the function of healthy blood cells.
CLL is a disease of adults but can occur in teenagers and children.
Greater than 75% of people newly diagnosed with CLL are over the age of
50, and the majority are men.
Most people with CLL are diagnosed without symptoms as the result of a
routine blood test that shows a high white blood cell count. In
advanced cases, CLL causes swollen lymph nodes, spleen, and liver, and eventually anemia and infections. Early CLL is not treated, and late CLL is treated with
chemotherapy and monoclonal antibodies.
Amorfix Life Sciences Ltd. (TSX:AMF) is an early-stage product
development company developing therapeutic antibodies and diagnostics
targeting misfolded protein diseases. Amorfix utilizes its
computational discovery platform, ProMIS™, to predict novel Disease
Specific Epitopes (DSEs) on the molecular surface of misfolded
proteins. Using this technology, Amorfix is developing novel antibody
therapeutics and companion diagnostics for cancer and amyotrophic
lateral sclerosis (ALS). In addition, Amorfix has developed two
proprietary technologies to specifically identify very low levels of
misfolded proteins in a biological sample: Epitope Protection™ and
AMFIA™, an ultra-sensitive dual-bead immunoassay. Use of these
technologies has generated a cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) screening test
for both Alzheimer's disease (AD) and mild cognitive impairment (MCI),
and an ultrasensitive method for detecting the hallmark of AD,
aggregated beta-Amyloid, in brain tissue, CSF and blood from animal
models of AD. For more information about Amorfix, visit www.amorfix.com.
About Trellis Bioscience LLC
Trellis Bioscience is a private, venture-funded therapeutic antibody
company located in South San Francisco, California with a focus on
infectious diseases and cancer. Projects include anti-viral and
anti-bacterial programs. The Company's lead program is targeting
cytomegalovirus (CMV), which is undergoing IND-enabling studies, other
projects target influenza virus, as well as Staphylococcus,
Streptococcus and Pseudomonas infections. Trellis has discovered its
first antibodies against cancer antigens in the blood of healthy donors
forming the foundation of its innovative cancer program. Trellis'
program to isolate monoclonal anti-drug antibodies (ADAs) in
collaboration with pharmaceutical companies is leveraged by a
proprietary computational algorithm to identify B-cell epitopes.
For more information about Trellis Bioscience, visit www.trellisbio.com.
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adequacy or accuracy of this release. This information release may
contain certain forward-looking information. Such information involves
known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause
actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different
from those implied by statements herein, and therefore these statements
should not be read as guarantees of future performance or results. All
forward-looking statements are based on the Company's current beliefs
as well as assumptions made by and information currently available to
it as well as other factors. Readers are cautioned not to place undue
reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of
the date of this press release. Due to risks and uncertainties,
including the risks and uncertainties identified by the Company in its
public securities filings, actual events may differ materially from
current expectations. The Company disclaims any intention or obligation
to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result
of new information, future events or otherwise.
SOURCE: Amorfix Life Sciences Ltd.
For further information:
Dr. Robert Gundel
President and Chief Executive Officer
Amorfix Life Sciences Ltd.
Tel: (416) 847-6957
Fax: (416) 847-6899
Chief Financial Officer
Amorfix Life Sciences Ltd.
Tel: (416) 644-7358
Fax: (416) 847-6899
Stefan Ryser, Ph.D.
President and Chief Executive Officer
Trellis Bioscience LLC
Tel: (650) 616-1121