SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Ab Initio Biotherapeutics, Inc., today announced a collaborative research and license agreement with Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) that aims to discover novel therapeutic antibodies against an undisclosed target in the G-protein coupled receptor (GPCR) superfamily. GPCRs comprise the largest class of therapeutic drug targets, with key regulatory roles in physiological processes ranging from cardiovascular biology to metabolic health. Ab Initio will use its proprietary GPCR antibody discovery platform to help engineer antibodies that activate the targeted GPCR. Pfizer has exclusive worldwide rights to develop and commercialize any GPCR activator (“agonist”) antibodies against this target that may result from the collaboration. Ab Initio will receive an upfront fee and research support, and is eligible to receive milestone payments and tiered royalties on future sales of any products that may result from this collaboration. Further terms of the deal are not disclosed. In addition, Pfizer will make a strategic investment in Ab Initio alongside the Company’s existing investors.
“We are pleased to partner with Pfizer as we seek to further validate the potential of our platform for discovering antibody-based drugs against the GPCR family,” added Kenneth Lin, M.D., President and CEO of Ab Initio. “Pfizer shares our vision for generating new therapies for inadequately addressed diseases, and we welcome them to our select group of investors.”
As part of this transaction, Ab Initio announced the addition of Will Somers, Ph.D., Vice President of Biomedicines Design at Pfizer, to the Ab Initio Scientific Advisory Board joining several other current members:
- Robert Booth, Ph.D. Former Board member at Pharmacyclics, former Chief Scientific Officer of Celera, former Senior Vice President of Research and Development at Roche, and Chief Executive Officer of Virobay,
- Timothy A. Springer, Ph.D. Latham Family Professor at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital, Founder of LeukoSite, Scholar Rock, and Morphic Therapeutics.
- Brian Kobilka, M.D. Hélène Irwin Fagan Professor at Stanford University School of Medicine, winner of the 2012 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
“GPCRs are important targets for therapeutics, and we believe that Ab Initio’s antibody discovery platform and the expertise of their team have the potential to aid in our biotherapeutics research efforts,” commented Somers. “We believe antibodies provide a compelling opportunity arising from their inherent properties of exceptional target specificity, infrequent dosing, and peripheral distribution.”
Commented Robert Booth, Executive Chairman, “I have been very impressed with the founders of Ab Initio and their scientific contributions from the moment I met them. I am excited about our collaboration with Pfizer and believe that partnerships such as these are an excellent way to accelerate Ab Initio’s ability to discover important new therapeutics.”
In parallel with this collaborative program, Ab Initio will be advancing discovery efforts for modulators of a number of additional GPCR targets. Timothy A. Springer, Ph.D., member of the Company’s Board of Directors and SAB, stated, “I’m very enthusiastic about Ab Initio’s depth of expertise in GPCR biochemistry and protein engineering, which allows them to take an entirely new therapeutic approach to the largest family of drug targets. I believe strongly that we have only begun to scratch the surface of therapeutic applications for protein-based medicines, and I expect Ab Initio to make an important contribution in opening new paths.”
About Ab Initio Biotherapeutics, Inc.
Ab Initio is a privately held protein therapeutics discovery company located in South San Francisco. Its proprietary discovery platform allows for rapid solutions to therapeutically important protein-protein interactions. Ab Initio is applying its system to the discovery of protein agents that functionally modulate G protein-coupled receptors, a superfamily of targets in a wide array of therapeutic indications including neurological, cardiovascular, endocrine, and gastrointestinal disorders, among many others.
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