12:00 AM
 | 
Nov 17, 2011
 |  BC Innovations  |  Strategy

MD Anderson's private screening

Less than two years after The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center carved up the IP for its in vivo phage display screening platform, the two biotech licensees have preclinical proof-of-concept data and preliminary patient validation for products based on the technology. Alvos Therapeutics Inc. is now determining optimal peptide-payload combinations for use in cancer, while Ablaris Therapeutics Inc. is developing follow-on formulations of its lead compound for obesity-related indications.

MD Anderson spent more than a decade developing its in vivo patient-based screening platform.1 The technology involves injecting terminally ill cancer patients with a large-scale phage display library of peptides that circulate for a short time before life support is terminated. Follow-up biopsies and phage rescue reveal which peptides home to which tissues and the receptors the peptides bind.

Peptides significantly enriched in diseased tissues could be used to deliver a therapeutic payload to those tissues. According to Alvos COO Pete Leone, screening in patients is important because, unlike conventional screening platforms, it can determine whether a target is on the surface or inside of a human cell. This is difficult to determine with proteomic approaches and cadaveric tissue samples, he said.

Late last month, the MD Anderson group published a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that provided additional human validation for the screening platform licensed to Alvos and Ablaris.2 The study...

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