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Glenmark's new cancer BEAT

How Glenmark avoids issues faced by competing bispecific antibody platforms

While bispecific antibodies have been around for two decades, their success in cancer has been stymied by poor in vivo properties and complex manufacturing processes. Indian biotech Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Ltd. is making a play in the crowded field, and has engineered a new type of bispecific antibody that contains elements of a T cell receptor. It is designed to avoid the short half-life and lack of cytotoxicity of other technologies, and can be purified in a one-step process.

The platform - dubbed bispecific engagement by antibodies based on the T cell receptor (BEAT) - also launches Glenmark's first R&D program in cancer. GBR 1302, a bispecific antibody that binds CD3 and epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (EGFR2; HER2; ErbB2; neu), is in preclinical development to treat breast cancer.

Bispecific antibodies differ from other antibodies - as their name suggests - by their ability to bind two different antigens rather than one, using their two different arms. One reason they have been a big draw in cancer immunotherapy is that they can bind a tumor antigen with one arm and a T cell antigen with the other, and thus recruit cytotoxic immune cells directly to tumors.

However, a major stumbling block has been ensuring the two different arms come together to form heterodimers during the synthesis

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