Taiwan Liposome Co (台灣微脂體), a developer of generic drugs used to treat breast and ovarian cancer, on Thursday said it had signed a research agreement with Belgian biotechnology company Ablynx NV.
Under their collaboration, the two firms will evaluate the potential of a novel antibody drug conjugate combining Taiwan Liposome’s immunoliposome drug delivery platform with Ablynx’s proprietary “Nanobody” drug technology.
Eventually, they hope to develop a product that has enhanced abilities to target and deliver cancer-killing drug payloads.
Ablynx is engaged mainly in the development of nanobodies, a novel class of therapeutic proteins based on single-domain antibody fragments, for treatment of inflammation, hematology, oncology and pulmonary diseases, according to information posted on the company’s Web site.
Using antibody drug conjugates to treat various types of cancer in recent years is aimed at generating fewer side effects, like hair loss, nausea and low blood pressure, than the older ways of using drugs.
Having worked on drug delivery technology since its establishment in 1997, Taiwan Liposome views using antibody drug conjugates as having great potential to increase efficacy in cancer and immune system treatments.
“Antibody drug conjugates have brought much excitement to the healthcare industry by combining the targeting specificity of antibodies with the efficacy of cytotoxic compounds,” company president George Yeh (葉志鴻) said in a press release.
“Our immunoliposome platform can drastically enhance the therapeutic value by carrying a much higher payload amount,” Yeh said. “This collaboration with Ablynx marks the starting point of infinite development possibilities for this technology platform.”
Yuanta Securities Group (元大證券) analyst Peggy Lee (李珮菁) yesterday said the collaboration is built on a feasibility study and is not expected to have a significant impact on the two firms in the short term, although they may receive milestone payments and royalties in the long term.
In the first three months of the year, Taiwan Liposome reported NT$35.99 million (US$1.19 million) in sales, down 53.39 percent from the same period last year, according to a company filing to the Taiwan Stock Exchange.
Taiwan Liposome shares dropped 2.05 percent to NT$263 yesterday. They have declined 23.77 percent since the beginning of the year, underperforming the GRETAI, which has risen 12.18 percent over the same period.
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