Prof John Mattick, Executive Director of Garvan (front left) and Stephen Thompson, Partner at Brandon Capital, with development team (l to r) Dr Kip Dudgeon, A/Prof Daniel Christ and Dr Romain Rouet.
Media Release: 15 January 2015
The Garvan Institute of Medical Research announces the launch of spin-off company Solvanix Pty Ltd, set up to commercialise a novel technology that will improve the stability of therapeutic monoclonal antibodies.
Solvanix has secured a $2 million commitment from Australia’s Medical Research Commercialisation Fund (MRCF), and will be based at Garvan.
Developed by Garvan scientists, the new technology answers a significant need within the pharmaceutical industry – how to create fully human antibodies that are also stable and resistant to ‘aggregation’ or ‘stickiness’.
When antibodies are used as therapeutic drugs, they are purified, concentrated and stored. These unnatural conditions tend to make them stick to one another or become entangled in clusters. A variety of factors compound the problem, including temperature fluctuations and long-term storage.
The new technology vastly improves antibody stability by reducing stickiness. It does this by altering specific regions of the antibody, without compromising its ‘human’ quality – and therefore minimising adverse immune reactions in patients.
Solvanix will work with companies in the biotech and pharmaceutical sectors to develop customised solutions for stability issues.
Associate Professor Daniel Christ, founder and CSO of Solvanix, and Head of the Antibody Therapeutics Laboratory at Garvan, commented that by the time a candidate molecule goes into early manufacturing or clinical studies, millions of dollars will already have been invested.
“At present, vast sums of money are being wasted because up to 30-50% of drugs in development have stability issues, and many products are ultimately failing,” he said.
“As you can imagine, this failure rate considerably increases drug development costs. Our new technology will simply eliminate stability issues and associated costs.”
Supported by the Commonwealth and State Governments, the MRCF provides funding to help promising research discoveries become profitable innovations.
Chris Smith, Investment Manager at Brandon Capital Partners, the venture capital firm that manages the MRCF, said: “This is a great example of the pioneering technologies that the MRCF is set up to support, and I’m very glad the underlying research came from one of our member institutes”.
“I am confident that this stabilising technology will be a game-changing addition to the global antibody therapeutics industry.”