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12:00 AM
 | 
Jul 21, 2008
 |  BioCentury  |  Strategy

Raven's better roost

MacroGenics Inc. hopes that its acquisition of Raven Biotechnologies Inc. will create a soup-to-nuts cancer antibody play. The deal, for an undisclosed amount of stock, combines MacroGenics' mAb engineering technologies with Raven's mAb generation platform.

MacroGenics provides a more obvious fit for Raven's technologies than did Raven's previous suitor, VaxGen Inc., which had been shopping around for technologies after the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services cancelled an $877.5 million contract for the company's rPA102 anthrax vaccine in 2006.

MacroGenics has two platform technologies for improving mAbs: Fc-optimization and dual affinity re-targeting (DART).

Antibody development generally focuses on engineering the variable region of the antibody to specific targets. According to President and CEO Scott Koenig, MacroGenics has shown that the constant (Fc) region is just as important in determining the antibody's efficacy.

An antibody's Fc region binds to Fc receptors on effector cells, such as macrophages, mast cells and neutrophils. Some of these receptors, such as Fc gamma receptor type IIIa (CD16A) and Fc gamma receptor IIa (CD32A), activate the cells to build an immune response against antigens. Other Fc receptors, such as Fc...

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