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Exciting technology opens the door to new treatments for cancer and infectious diseases

  • 16 Nov 2023

Burnet Institute has entered into a Research Licence and Option Agreement with biopharma company argenx for a ground-breaking technology able to transform the way we approach cancer, inflammation and infectious disease treatment. 

Stellabody® is simple technology that supercharges monoclonal antibodies and antibody-like drugs, which can be tailored to suit a remarkably broad range of disease targets and applications.

Discovered by the highly experienced researchers of the Immune Therapies Group at Burnet, Stellabody® not only has the potential to improve existing medicines, but excitingly to also pave the way for the development of 'next generation' antibody therapeutics and new life-saving treatments.

Head of the Immune Therapies Group and co-inventor of Stellabody®, Professor Mark Hogarth, said: “Current monoclonal antibody treatments target cancers, inflammatory cells or microbes, but often have insufficient potency, meaning they are either not effective or not as effective as they could be.

"Stellabody® technology is exciting as it can transform the actions of antibodies and antibody-like biologic drugs – for example, in a cancer context, it can increase the potency of existing antibody medicines or extend their use to cancers that previously did not respond to them.

"This is demonstrated through the cancer antibodies that we have tested, where Stellabody® overcomes limitations by supercharging their potency which increases cell death to eliminate cancer cells."

The technology is currently being compared to existing antibody therapeutics that are used presently for the treatment of blood cancers (e.g. leukaemia, lymphoma and multiple myeloma) and it is also being developed for applicability against solid cancers (e.g. colorectal cancer) as well as inflammatory diseases and infectious diseases (e.g. COVID-19).

Under the multi-year agreement, argenx is granted a non-exclusive research licence to explore the potential of Stellabody® and also an option for an exclusive commercial licence to a limited number of molecular targets.

"argenx is an innovative, nimble and collaborative biopharma company, with recognised expertise in antibody discovery and development technologies and is committed to developing differentiated therapeutics," Professor Hogarth said.

"Their track record of success is demonstrated through their recent commercial launch of a first-in-class biologic. I very much look forward to working with them."

Burnet Executive General Manager, Commercial Innovation and Industry Partnerships, Serina Cucuzza said she was looking forward to seeing where the agreement will lead.

"It has been a pleasure working with argenx on a mutually beneficial partnership and we are very much looking forward to a fruitful relationship," she said.

"We are also interested in partnering with other innovative companies so we can maximise the impact Stellabody® can have for patients."

Read more on the full media release here.