Complix announces that it has been awarded a €1.9 million grant (approximately USD$2.4 million) from the Flanders government through IWT (Agency for Innovation by Science and Technology in Flanders). The grant will allow Complix to accelerate the development of its unique cell penetrating Alphabodies (CPABs), against a range of intracellular disease targets, including cancer.
Alphabodies represent a novel therapeutic development platform with the potential to address a vast number of disease targets that are currently considered "undruggable" by the two main classes of therapeutic drugs: small chemical drugs and therapeutic antibodies. In particular their ability to act on intracellular protein targets represents a major medical and commercial opportunity.
During the past year, Complix has generated a wealth of data demonstrating the attractive properties of CPABs that are capable of acting on intracellular disease targets. These results show that CPABs are taken up effectively by tumor cells. Once inside cancer cells the CPABs can act on an oncogenic target protein and block its function, thereby inducing apoptosis (cell death).
Dr Mark Vaeck, CEO of Complix, said: "We are delighted to have received this funding from IWT, which is a clear endorsement of the power of our unique CPAB platform. The results that we have generated so far indicate this platform has the potential to transform the pharmaceutical industry's ability to address the most interesting class of potential drug targets, namely intracellular protein-protein interactions (PPIs).
"Although intracellular PPIs are known to be involved in a variety of important disease processes, such as cancer, autoimmunity, CNS and metabolic diseases, most of them have been found intractable by small chemicals or antibodies. Whilst other new technology platforms are currently also attempting to address this opportunity, we believe that Complix is well positioned to become a leading player in this next generation of so called "cross-over therapeutics", which have the potential to boost future R&D pipelines and revitalize the growth of the pharmaceutical industry."
Alphabodies are small single chain alpha-helical proteins that are designed by computer modeling, but are inspired by naturally existing polypeptide structures. Alphabodies can address a diverse range of traditionally undruggable disease targets and combine the best beneficial properties of biologics and small chemical drugs, such as high specificity and potency on large protein targets, with efficient intracellular penetration and excellent stability in human serum.
Alphabodies also have the potential to be applied in other fields beyond the treatment of human disease. Complix recently announced an important value-generating partnership with Monsanto Company that will apply Complix' Alphabodies to create novel products for agricultural applications.