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The Rappaport Institute looks forward to continuing to make substantial future contributions in biomedical research"

Professor Karl Skorecki

Fairjourney Biologics, BioRap Technologies and Hadasit Medical Research Services and Development Ltd. collaborate to discover therapeutic antibodies that modulate Heparanase, a validated target for cancer therapy

1 April, 2014

Fairjourney Biologics, BioRap Technologies and Hadasit Medical Research Services and Development Ltd. collaborate to discover therapeutic antibodies that modulate Heparanase, a validated target for cancer therapy

 

April 1st, 2014: Porto, Portugal and Haifa, Israel

Fairjourney Biologics signed a Research and Option Agreement with BioRap Technologies at the Rappaport Institute and Hadasit Medical Research Services and Development Ltd. to develop antibodies against Heparanase. Heparanase was discovered as a target for anti-cancer therapy by Prof. Israel Vlodavsky, a cancer research scientist at the Rappaport Institute and Hadassah Medical Center (Nat. Med. 1999. 5: 793-802).

 

Under the terms of the agreement, Fairjourney Biologics will use its expertise in antibody discovery and engineering to develop a superior panel of antibodies, using phage display to tackle multiple epitopes of this target. BioRap Technologies will perform the in-vitro and in-vivo proof of concept at the Rappaport Institute. Fairjourney Biologics has an option to develop the antibody drug candidates on an exclusive basis.

 

Vlodavsky's discovery of the extracellular matrix as a reservoir for bioactive molecules provided the basis for the current appreciation of the tumor microenvironment and its significance in cancer progression and treatment. A major achievement of Vlodavsky is the cloning and characterization of heparanase (endo-β-D-glucuronidase), the sole functional enzyme responsible for degradation and remodeling of the extracellular matrix. The normal physiological functions of Heparanase include tissue remodeling and repair.

 

Abnormal expression of Heparanase is implicated in a variety of pathologic processes, including tumor growth, angiogenesis, metastasis, inflammation and glomerular diseases. Preferential expression of this enzyme has been shown in various human tumors. Heparanase knock-out mice have been reported to lack significant abnormalities. Vlodavsky is the pioneering scientist in this area of research, offering basic insights and new treatment strategies for various cancers and other diseases.

 

Currently, various chemically modified heparins or heparan sulfate mimics have been generated as Heparanase inhibitors. PI-88 (sulfated malto-oligosaccharide), PG545 (fully sulfated tetrasaccaride), Roneparstat (SST0001), and M402 (both glycol-split species of heparin) are being tested in Phase I/II clinical trials (hepatocellular carcinoma, melanoma, myeloma, lung carcinoma, pancreatic carcinoma).

 

“The biology of Heparanase makes this enzyme a very attractive novel therapeutic target. We are delighted with the opportunity to generate neutralizing antibodies that are expected to profoundly affect tumor growth, angiogenesis and metastasis,” commented Maria Gonzalez-Pajuelo, Fairjourney Biologics’ CSO.

 

António Parada, Fairjourney Biologics’ CEO emphasized, “After an outstanding track record developing new therapeutic antibodies to partners, it’s time for the company to also have assets. This move will foster value creation and secure broader services from our clients, by demonstrating our capability to deliver more comprehensively on the value chain.”

 

Israel Vlodavsky received his Ph.D. from the Wiezmann Institute (Rehovot, Israel) followed by a postdoctoral training in UCLA and UCSF. He then established the Tumor Biology Research unit of the Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center. In 2002, he was recruited to the Technion (Haifa, Israel) where he established the Cancer & Vascular Biology Research Center http://www.technioncancer.co.il/lab.php?id=3.

 

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About Fairjourney Biologics

Fairjourney Biologics is an established company with an outstanding track record of collaboration and support with biotech and biopharmaceutical companies. Fairjourney Biologics offers a range of services in the area of antibody engineering and discovery. Our deals are front or back loaded enabling partners to best match their needs.

 

The phage display team with more than 30 years of combined experience and 11 submitted patents in the field has successfully delivered diagnostic tools and therapeutic antibodies with very specific characteristics, in record time, with a 100% success rate (testimonials at www.fjb.pt).

 

Our proprietary rodent primers together with our experience in GPCRs, ion channels and other challenging targets enabled us to discover diverse types of antibodies or fragments.

 

About BioRap Technologies at the Technion’s Rappaport Institute for Research in Biomedical Sciences

BioRap is the Rappaport Institute's technology transfer company and its liaison to industry, bringing promising scientific innovations generated at the Institute to collaboration with industry and commercialization. The company provides the legal and commercial frameworks for the inventions and innovations of RI researchers, protecting discoveries and innovations with patents, and working jointly with industry to bring scientific discovery to the market. For more information, visit www.bio-rap.com

 

Contact

Antonio Parada, CEO, Fairjourney Biologics

Tel: +351 915784933

Email: aparada@fjb.pt

 

Orit Shaked, CEO, Biorap Technologies

Tel +972-4-8295402

Email: oshaked@tx.technion.ac.il

 

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