January 4, 2018

AvantGen to use its proprietary human antibody yeast display platform to generate additional novel cancer therapeutic antibody drug candidates for Tanabe Research Laboratories USA


SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – AvantGen today announced the successful completion of a first cancer therapeutic antibody discovery program for Tanabe Research Laboratories USA, Inc. (TRL) and the initiation of a second program.

Under the terms of the collaboration, AvantGen is responsible for generating novel antibodies to specified cancer targets using its proprietary human antibody yeast display technology platform.  TRL has worldwide rights to develop and commercialize antibodies discovered by AvantGen.  AvantGen receives upfront payments and is eligible to receive milestone payments and royalties associated with the development and sale of any products derived from the collaboration.

“AvantGen’s antibody discovery and optimization services have been extensively validated against hundreds of targets primarily through numerous NIH SBIR I and II funded projects. Since the recent introduction of our new, state-of-the-art human antibody discovery and optimization platform, this second project with TRL represents the fifteenth de novo antibody discovery project we have initiated specifically for corporate partners,” said Xiaomin Fan, Ph.D., founder and president of AvantGen. “The platform utilizes advantageous technologies, including a robust yeast display system, large natural human antibody database and fully human antibody libraries, for the generation of antibodies to meet challenging design goals for therapeutic, diagnostic and research tool purposes.”

“The therapeutic antibody discovery program conducted by AvantGen was highly collaborative and was accomplished faster than expected, without the need to further optimize the antibodies in order to meet TRL’s design goals,” said Roland Newman, Ph.D., chief scientific officer for TRL. “We look forward to working together on the second program and others in the future.”

About AvantGen

AvantGen, Inc is a privately-held antibody discovery and optimization service provider and a leader in the use of yeast display technology for antibody discovery and optimization.  Founded by experts in the creation of antibody discovery and optimization platforms, AvantGen excels in the rapid, cost-effective generation of antibodies for therapeutic, diagnostic and research tool applications.The Company’s platform includes a robust yeast display system, large natural human antibody database, fully human antibody libraries comprised of over 100 billion antibody clones, flow cytometry-based and other screening technologies, as well as novel methodologies for rabbit monoclonal antibody generation. This versatile platform can be used to discover and optimize antibodies directed at specific disease targets, affinity mature existing antibodies to improve their binding properties and humanize antibodies to render non-human antibodies suitable for human therapeutic applications, as well as generate rabbit monoclonal antibodies for applications that need extremely high specificity, such as antibodies capable of distinguishing point mutations and post-translational modifications for IHC, and anti-idiotype antibodies for PK studies.  AvantGen’s partners include pharmaceutical, biotech, diagnostic and government entities, many of which are repeat customers. For more information, visit www.avantgen.com.


Tom Smart

Corporate Transactions


(858) 228-6827

About Tanabe Research Laboratories U.S.A., Inc. (TRL)

TRL is an independent subsidiary of Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation (MTPC) located in San Diego California, whose role is to discover and develop biological drug candidates for therapy. Currently, TRL’s efforts are directed towards antibody and antibody-related research to target tumors and other diseases with high unmet needs. TRL is establishing collaborative relationships with other companies and academic research organizations to further its goals of identifying preclinical therapeutic lead compounds for development. http://www.trlusa.com/

AvantGen Awarded SBIR Phase II Contract to Develop High-Affinity, Anti-Peptide Rabbit Monoclonal Antibodies for SISCAPA Assays from the NIH/NCI

September 18, 2015

AvantGen, a leader in novel antibody discovery and engineering, in collaboration with SISCAPA Assay Technologies (SAT), was awarded a SBIR Phase II contract from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to develop high-affinity, anti-peptide rabbit monoclonal antibodies for mass-spectrometry-based cancer biomarker detection and quantification assays, or so called SISCAPA (Stable Isotope Standards and Capture by Anti-Peptide Antibodies) assays.

Antibodies with high affinity and specificity suitable for cancer biomarker measurements are essential, since there are more than 2,000 potential biomarkers that have been discovered, but only about 100 of them are currently approved by the FDA for clinical diagnostic use.

Prior to this Phase II contract, AvantGen successfully completed a Phase I contract (HHSN261201300023C) using its novel rabbit monoclonal antibody generation platform which enables AvantGen to isolate the highest affinity antibody clones from an immunized rabbit with the desired specificity for the target peptide antigen.  All of the rabbit monoclonal antibody clones developed during Phase I exhibit very high affinity (10-10 to 10-11 M) and specificity for their respective antigens.

AvantGen’s technology bypasses the low efficiency of fusion between antibody-producing cells (B cells) and myeloma used with hybridoma technologies. Fusion is particularly inefficient with rabbit myeloma lines with an estimated fusion rate of 1 in 1 million. The isolated antibodies with AvantGen’s technology will be sequenced and expressed in mammalian cell systems, therefore also overcome the instability and low antibody yield issues of rabbit monoclonal antibody cell lines

The Phase II contract (HHSN261201500044C) will support the development of novel rabbit monoclonal antibodies against 100 additional peptides derived from cancer biomarkers.  The developed antibodies will be evaluated in SISCAPA assay.

SISCAPA combines antibody-based peptide enrichment with quantitative mass spectrometry to provide accurate quantitation of target proteins. The assay requires high affinity and highly specific antibodies and enables measurements of biomarkers from biological samples with unprecedented precision and throughput.

AvantGen is also providing services to generate high quality rabbit monoclonal antibody research reagents for the research community.

AvantGen Awarded SBIR Phase II Grant to Develop High-Affinity Rabbit Monoclonal Antibodies for Neuroscience Related Antigens from the NIH/NIDA

March 1, 2015

AvantGen, a leader in novel antibody discovery and engineering, was awarded a SBIR Phase II grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop novel rabbit monoclonal neuroscience antibodies against 120 targets.

Neuroscience related proteins are highly conservative and homologous among different species, making them difficult targets to generate high quality antibodies.  Therefore, we need novel methods to yield neuroscience antibodies and one that can distinguish between related family members.

AvantGen has developed its proprietary yeast display system and rabbit antibody libraries. This will allow the discovery of novel antibodies for research, diagnostic and therapeutic development. AvantGen’s technology bypasses the low efficiency (1 in 1 million) of fusion between antibody-producing cells (B cells) and myeloma used with hybridoma technologies. We will sequence the antibodies isolated with AvantGen’s technology and express them in mammalian cell systems. This prevents the instability and low antibody yield issues of rabbit monoclonal antibody cell lines.

Mouse monoclonal antibodies are the most widely used reagents to detect and quantify proteins. However, a recent study showed that only about 25% of antibodies on the market are specific, due to the vastly different characterization criteria used by different providers. In addition, the affinities for antigen of the current antibody clones on the market vary considerably, ranging from μM to sub nM.  Rabbits generate much stronger immune responses than mice to antigens in general, but small peptides and haptens in particular. This is due to their unique use of both gene conversion and somatic hypermutation and the diversity of light chain variable regions, including germline encoded Vκ variability in CDR-3 length. Finally, rabbit monoclonal antibodies generally exhibit 10-100 fold higher affinity for antigens than murine monoclonal antibodies.

Antibody clones developed with AvantGen’s technologies are highly specific. We can readily select them to distinguish between related family members, different isoforms, post-translational modified variants, and different conformations.

This Phase II grant will allow AvantGen to develop highly quality rabbit monoclonal neuroscience antibodies against such challenging targets. The developed antibodies will be fully characterized by AvantGen’s collaborators at the Mount Sinai Icahn School of Medicine.