Takuya Yokokawa, President and CEO
The rising incidence of infectious diseases worldwide, coupled with the growing demand for protein therapeutics, is driving the progress of antibody production. As pharmaceutical companies continue to integrate biologic drugs into their product portfolios and discovery operations, they must try and identify truly novel drug targets for unmet medical needs and create biotherapeutics against them to minimize development risk. However, this is where the problem exists. With the rise of genomics and proteomics, the artisanal approach to the development of therapeutic antibodies is no longer sufficient; it cannot produce the large numbers of different antibodies researchers require. Pharmaceutical businesses need an alternate development technique, one that produces high-affinity antibodies.
Enter Perseus Proteomics. A Japanese-based antibody drug discovery venture originated from the University of Tokyo, Perseus Proteomics helps research institutions, universities, and other pharma companies proceed with their R&D efficiently via its innovative services and patented screening technology. Perseus Proteomics specializes in actively providing new medical care modalities by employing cutting-edge antibody technologies to develop antibody drugs. The firm’s extensive range of services includes mouse hybridoma sequencing, recombinant antibody production, and contract antibody research. Takuya Yokokawa, president and CEO of the firm, says, “Combining our high performance antibody libraries with our screening technologies, backed by our exclusive know-hows, we are attempting to unlock the hidden potential of antibodies.” Perseus Proteomics is involved in the field of drug discovery, antibody research support, as well as antibody and reagent sales.
Since its inception in 2001, the firm has contributed to drug discovery and development through the research and development of reagents and diagnostics, providing a full panel of antibodies against 48 nuclear receptors as reagents and a biomarker detecting system for vascular inflammation.
Perseus Proteomics has developed four different therapeutic antibodies targeting surface molecules on cancer cells to date: PPMX-T001, which targets Glypican-3 (GPC3); PPMX-T002, which targets cadherin-3 (CDH3); PPMX-T003, which targets transferrin receptor (TFR); and PPMX-T004, targeting cadherin-3 (CDH3). PPMX-T001 is licensed to the Japanese drug manufacturer Chugai Pharmaceutical Co., which is currently conducting a clinical trial against the GPC3. “We have licensed both PPMX-T002 and PPMX-T004 to Fujifilm Group, and they are conducting clinical trials targeting solid tumors as an anticancer drug that effectively attacks cancer cells while suppressing any side effects,” mentions Yokokawa. The target of PPMX-T004 is the same CDH3 as PPMX-T002. But the notable aspect of Perseus Proteomics is PPMX-T003, its anti-blood cancer drug candidate. PPMX-T003 is a highly active anti-transferrin antibody, which is now under clinical trial. Perseus Proteomics is currently studying PPMX-T003’s feasibility to deal with the global medical problem and the risk of healthcare collapse.
Combining our high performance antibody libraries with our screening technologies, backed by our exclusive know-hows, we are attempting to unlock the hidden potential of antibodies
What’s more? Perseus Proteomics utilizes two highly-efficient techniques to discover and develop these highly functional antibodies: the hybridoma method and the phage display method. While the hybridoma method is a classic and well-established process that helps obtain antibodies with high specificity and affinity, it involves using animals and takes time due to the necessity of humanization. Typically, in the hybridoma method, animals—mostly mice—are immunized with a target molecule that provokes an immune response. The antibody-producing cells are then collected from the mice to prepare hybridoma cells that persistently secrete antibodies. After the screening, selected leads are used to generate humanized antibodies. On the other hand, the phage display method does not use animals; rather, antibody sequences that bind to specific target molecules are selected from antibody libraries to obtain highly-functional antibodies. Perseus Proteomics’ proprietary phage screening method uses organic solvents to obtain unique antibodies with high specificity. “Perseus Proteomics has an ability to design optimum therapeutic with right antibody by right format for each disease., enabling pharma companies to establish a strong pipeline of antibody therapeutics,” informs Yokokawa. Furthermore, the firm also provides antibody research support and contract services via which universities and other pharma companies can leverage Perseus Proteomics R&D ability to their benefit.
Although new therapeutics, including antibody drugs, have been developed, there are still several unmet medical needs. Perseus Proteomics’ mission is to address this demand and contribute to global medical care with its unique antibody technologies. For the road ahead, Yokokawa informs that the firm will continue to work on the discovery of new antibody drugs, including engineered antibodies, modified antibodies (RIT, ADC), and fully human antibodies diligently. Alongside this, the firm is looking to further broaden the network for the latest drug discovery through collaboration with academic institutions. “We are planning on investing more in our R&D and looking for success in the IPO. We will continue to integrate cutting-edge technologies with our offerings to discover better antibody drug seeds. It is our contribution to future medical care,” concludes Yokokawa.