This week, Belgian-based biopharmaceutical company Ablynx announced they have entered into an exclusive research collaboration with Genzyme, a Sanofi company, to investigate the use of Nanobodies as part of a targeted therapeutic strategy for multiple sclerosis (MS). The research will utilize Genzyme’s early-stage MS research programs involving neuroprotection and central nervous system (CNS) repair.
Nanobodies are a unique class of biological molecules that have the potential to successfully target disease-related antigens, specifically for auto-immune diseases such as MS. Currently, the neurodegeneration associated with MS has not been effectively targeted by existing therapeutic options. Genzyme’s research goals are to use their Nanobody technology and address this unmet need by targeting the underlying causes of MS disease progression then develop treatments that have the capacity to protect neurons and promote the repair of damage to the CNS associated with MS.
The agreement will give Genzyme the right to perform experiments in both the laboratory and clinical environment with Ablynx’s Nanobody technology, which has already been tested in pre-clinical models to confirm their immune targeting activity, for MS research. The terms of the agreement will allow Genzyme to negotiate a licensing agreement upon completion of their studies.
In a company-wide press release announcing the collaboration, Dr Edwin Moses, CEO of Ablynx, stated. “As a leading biotech company, Genzyme is an ideal partner to demonstrate the potential value of Ablynx’s versatile Nanobody technology platform in MS. The formatting flexibility of Nanobodies makes them promising candidates for combining antibody-like selectivity and multi-specificity in a single molecule. We are looking forward to working for the first time with Genzyme.”
His sentiments were shared by his colleague, Johanne Kaplan, VP, Neuroimmunology Research, Genzyme, who added, “We look forward to collaborating with Ablynx to evaluate the potential of Nanobodies against this CNS target, as this project supports our research that includes the exploration of novel therapeutic platforms to address unmet needs in multiple sclerosis.”