LONDON: Aptamer Group plc (AIM: APTA), the developer of novel Optimer binders to enable innovation in the life sciences industry, is pleased to announce that it has extended its collaboration agreement with PinotBio (Gyeonggi-do, Korea), a clinical-stage oncology-focused biotechnology company, to develop four new Optimer-drug conjugates for use as precision chemotherapeutics.
The partnership commenced in June 2021, targeting haematological cancers, and the first phase of the project has been successfully completed. This demonstrated the viability of combining Optimer technology with PinotBio’s proprietary linker-payload antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) platform for targeted drug delivery to cancer cells and the effective killing of the target cells by chemotherapy.
Aptamer and PinotBio will now work together to develop Optimer-drug conjugates, as a novel format ADC alternative, to four specified non-blood-based cancer targets: Nectin-4, Tissue Factor, CEACAM5 and CD73. The developed assets will be jointly owned by both parties, with each party retaining ownership over the individual components of the conjugate and if successful will open opportunities for downstream value creation in the form of licensing fees, milestones and or royalties.
The Optimer binder in the Optimer-drug conjugate acts as a specific targeting vehicle for the simple conjugation of payloads and their targeted delivery to the site-of-action. PinotBio’s linker-payload system has shown the potential to overcome tumour resistance and safety concerns, even at relatively high doses in non-human primates.
Targeting the drug directly to the site-of-action with this combination of technologies could limit the side effects of chemotherapeutic drugs in non-cancerous tissues and provide a higher concentration at the site-of-action and yield a larger therapeutic index compared with alternatives.
Aptamer will develop Optimer vehicles to the specified targets and provide these to PinotBio for use with their payload and linker technologies. PinotBio will generate the full Optimer-drug conjugates and perform initial animal studies to evaluate the conjugate molecules and their potential to progress as clinical candidates. Each party will cover its own development costs in support of the generation of these therapeutic assets.
Dr Arron Tolley, Chief Executive Officer of Aptamer Group, commented: “The data from the first phase of this work, combining our Optimer technology with PinotBio’s linker and chemotherapeutic payloads, were very promising and demonstrated the power of Optimer binders to develop effective enabling technologies resulting in drug-conjugate development targeting different disease states. As a result, we are very excited to be able to extend this collaboration with PinotBio to develop Optimer-drug conjugates as novel cancer treatments. We are encouraged by the potential of these novel format drugs to make a difference and improve the quality of cancer patient lives through reduced side effects, and we look forward to providing updates in due course.”
Dr Dooyoung Jung, Chief Executive Officer of PinotBio, commented: “The development of Optimer-drug conjugates, as next-generation ADCs, in collaboration with Aptamer Group highlights the compatibility of PINOT-ADCTM, with antibodies as well as advanced technologies, such as Optimer. The tailored targeting methods of Optimer for drug delivery combined with PINOT-ADC holds promise for smaller, improved drug delivery with a greater therapeutic index that will improve treatment for cancer patients globally.”
Aptamer Group develops custom affinity binders through its proprietary Optimer® platform to enable new approaches in therapeutics, diagnostics and research applications. The Company strives to deliver transformational solutions that meet the needs of life science researchers and developers through the use of its proprietary Optimer platform.