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Abbott and Caprion extend work on antibody targets for cancer
MONTREAL—Abbott and Caprion Proteomics will continue to collaborate in the investigation of human therapeutic antibody targets for oncology using Caprion's CellCarta technology platform. The two companies began working together on lung cancer targets three years ago. The extended agreement allows Abbott to retain exclusive rights to 10 targets in lung cancer identified by Caprion for up to two years. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed but the standard caveat applies: Caprion may receive additional future payments based on research and development milestones, as well as from royalties on future product sales.
Earlier in 2007, Caprion Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Ecopia BioSciences Inc. joined forces to form a new corporation called Thallion Pharmaceuticals. The properties and assets relating to Caprion's proprietary proteomics technology platform business (which includes the CellCarta technology platform) were transferred to a general partnership known as Caprion Proteomics. Caprion Pharmaceuticals was formed in late 2001 as a proteomics technology company and began to roll out platforms in 2003. Its software suite quantifies differences in and identifies protein expression patterns across thousands of samples.
Caprion's CellCarta is a proprietary proteomics technology platform that serves as an engine for identifying and profiling the differential expression of proteins in solid tissues, as well as plasma and other accessible fluids.
"We apply this technology where we can generate interest and income," says Martin LeBlanc, president of Caprion Proteomics. "We can both isolate organelles and detect cell-surface differentiation to find proteins that are constantly overexpressed." To date, LeBlanc says, cumulative sales have exceeded $30 million, with annual sales "starting to reach double-digit millions annually. The company is profitable, he adds.
LeBlanc notes that 10 Caprion preclinical targets will continue to be evaluated by Abbott during the extended agreement period. In fact, according to LeBlanc, Caprion has emerged as a "partner of choice" for pharma as a proteomics provider and is a major factor—if not the accepted leader—in the resurgence of proteomics in drug discovery. He notes that more than 30 clinical biomarkers are being used by partners such as Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, Wyeth, Daiichi-Sankyo, Boehringer-Ingelheim, Berlex (now Bayer HealthCare) and Vertex. Previously, ICOS was working with an additional 10 and had raised antibodies to them, confirmed overexpression and identified biological activity to the antibodies. Strategic alliances cover two areas of activity, the company states: discovery of novel therapeutic drug targets, and the discovery of protein biomarkers in accessible fluids for preclinical and clinical compound development.
"The collaboration with Caprion fits our strategy to extend Abbott's portfolio with novel therapies in areas of high unmet clinical need. From day one, the partnership with Caprion has resulted in a series of potential therapeutic antibody targets for oncology and this extension will provide the additional time required to complete the preclinical evaluation of the 10 targets we have selected during the course of our agreement," states Abbott's Stephen Fesik, divisional vice president, cancer research.