Affilogic and Apellis expand R&D collaboration to develop targeted complement therapies for delivery into the brain.
WALTHAM, Mass. and NANTES, France, June 22, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Apellis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: APLS) and Affilogic today announced that the companies have expanded their research and development (R&D) collaboration, which was initially formed in 2018, to include the development of Nanofitins® targeting the transferrin receptor (TfR), which enables drugs to be transported across the blood brain barrier and into the central nervous system. TfR-specific Nanofitins, also known as brain shuttles, are designed to be combined with other treatment modalities including peptides, small molecules, and antibodies.
“This agreement extends Apellis’ ongoing research to develop brain-active C3 inhibitors with a highly efficient approach to deliver targeted complement therapies into the brain,” said Lukas Scheibler, Ph.D., chief innovation officer at Apellis. “Studies suggest that complement overactivation may play a role in several neurodegenerative diseases. By combining Affilogic’s brain shuttle technology with our deep expertise in complement, we aim to develop novel therapies that control complement in these devastating neurological diseases with high unmet need.”
The companies also continue to collaborate on the discovery of Nanofitin-based therapies that target C3, the central protein of the complement cascade. Several research programs are in development including two pre-clinical candidates for which Apellis expects to submit investigational new drug applications (INDs) over the next 12 months: APL-1030, a potential first-in-class, brain-active C3 inhibitor for neurodegenerative and other complement-driven diseases, and APL-2006, an ophthalmological candidate in development to treat both wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and geographic atrophy.
“We are excited to expand our partnership with Apellis, a leader in targeting the complement pathway, to include our proprietary TfR-specific Nanofitin, which enables delivery to the brain of a wide range of treatment modalities. The pre-clinical data generated so far on the Nanofitins illustrate nicely that we can seamlessly create binders that inhibit multiple targets,” said Olivier Kitten, Ph.D., chief executive officer of Affilogic. “Our ongoing R&D collaboration highlights Affilogic’s strategy of assembling Nanofitins to develop custom biomolecules for partners, and we look forward to the continued advancement of the research programs toward the clinic.”
Under the terms of the expanded agreement, Apellis secured exclusive, sublicensable, worldwide patent rights for all development projects. Affilogic currently receives research costs and will be eligible to receive development milestone payments and royalty payments on net sales of any product approved out of this collaboration.
For any biological target, from peptides to entire cells, it is possible to generate custom Nanofitins® with a high binding affinity and controlled specificity for targeting or interacting purposes. They can thereby be designed as targeted inhibitors, or as vectors for specific transport. Each Nanofitin is 20 times smaller than an antibody and hyperstable. Nanofitins are easily combined with each other or third-party molecules by simple, rapid and proven methods to design an ideal targeted molecule. Usual systemic routes can be travelled by Nanofitins aiming at neutralizing relevant interactions. Intrinsic properties of Nanofitins® make them amenable to other routes, such as oral route and pulmonary delivery.
Affilogic is an independent private company established in Nantes, France, and specialised in the discovery, development and combinations of affinity proteins named Nanofitins® as biotherapeutics through early-stage collaborations with worldwide industry leaders in the pharmaceutical sector. Affilogic has exclusive and worldwide rights to this technology from the Pasteur Institute and the CNRS, and a proprietary patent portfolio has been established and continues to grow. For more information, please visit https://affilogic.com
Apellis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a global biopharmaceutical company that is committed to leveraging courageous science, creativity, and compassion to deliver life-changing therapies. Leaders in complement, we ushered in the first new class of complement medicine in 15 years with the approval of the first and only targeted C3 therapy. We are advancing this science to continually develop transformative medicines for people living with rare, retinal, and neurological diseases. For more information, please visit http://apellis.com or follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.
Apellis Forward-Looking Statement
Statements in this press release about future expectations, plans and prospects, as well as any other statements regarding matters that are not historical facts, may constitute “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The words “anticipate,” “believe,” “continue,” “could,” “estimate,” “expect,” “intend,” “may,” “plan,” “potential,” “predict,” “project,” “should,” “target,” “will,” “would” and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements, although not all forward-looking statements contain these identifying words. Actual results may differ materially from those indicated by such forward-looking statements as a result of various important factors discussed in the “Risk Factors” section of Apellis’ Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q with the Securities and Exchange Commission on May 4, 2022 and the risks described in other filings that Apellis may make with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Any forward-looking statements contained in this press release speak only as of the date hereof, and Apellis specifically disclaims any obligation to update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.