Updated on 2 October 2012
Researchers at the Antibody Engineering Laboratory of Sydney's Garvan Institute of Medical Research discovered that zero-to-50 percent of the antibody-based drugs that pharma companies develop have to be put on hold because of poor quality or non-compliance with the regulatory level. Scientists at the institute then developed specific mutations that universally increase the stability of antibody molecules.
Further boosting research in this field, the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN) entered into collaboration with Sydney-based Biosceptre International to develop a process for the production of monoclonal antibodies to treat cancer. AIBN's National Biologics Facility will characterize candidate therapeutic monoclonal antibodies that bind to Biosceptre's novel cancer target nf-P2X7.
"Australia has a successful track record in the development of human monoclonal antibodies," says Mr Mark Heffernan, CEO, Nexvet Biopharma. "There have been a number of platform technologies that have emerged from Australia and have been acquired by multinational companies. There are candidates progressing through clinical development. Then, there are some large contract manufacturing organizations are recognizing the potential of the market in Australia."
Evogenix was acquired by Arana and later by Cephalon, while global science-based company DSM is establishing manufacturing facilities in Brisbane.
In a separate stream, giving hope to dengue vaccine, research scientists in Singapore have discovered a human antibody that can neutralize and kill the virus. The team has found ways to reproduce this antibody in large quantities, opening the door for dengue treatment. By studying a group of cell lines from people who had recovered from dengue infection over a period of two years, the team identified a recombinant antibody that could attach itself to a specific part of the dengue virus and inhibit it from attacking other cells. The antibody eventually destroys the virus and does so faster than any other existing anti-dengue compounds.