Melbourne-based drug development company AdAlta (ASX: 1AD) has been selected by GE Healthcare, one of the world’s largest healthcare companies, to develop ‘i-bodies’ which GE can use as imaging agents.
One-tenth of the size of regular antibodies, i-bodies are a new class of human protein therapeutic which can be applied as a therapeutic drug to treat disease.
The partnership will see AdAlta initially target Granzyme B, a serine protease commonly secreted by immune cells in cancer, where AdAlta will screen its existing library of i-bodies to identify those which GE can use as imaging agents.
“We are thrilled to have secured this licensing deal with one of the world’s largest healthcare companies,” said AdAlta Executive Chairman, Paul MacLeman.
“This is a key step toward AdAlta’s goal of becoming a global player in next generation antibodies. The small size and flexibility of the i-body makes it ideal as an imaging agent.”
The partnership is a big boost in confidence for AdAlta which is intending to commence human clinical trials in January 2020 for its lead i-body candidate AD-214 which aims to treat Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis.
“We are partnering with companies like AdAlta to build a portfolio of molecular imaging agents for those disease biomarkers that will help accelerate the development of the next generation of immuno-oncology treatments,” said Sanka Thiru, Head of Molecular Imaging Oncology, in GE Healthcare’s Pharmaceutical Diagnostics business.
Financial terms of the partnership between GE and AdAlta were not disclosed.
Shares in 1AD surged as high as +56.5% to $0.18 in early morning trade following the partnership announcement.