Baize Invests $8 M in Compugen’s mAbs
Compugen Ltd. (NASDAQ: CGEN) is accelerating its monoclonal antibody (mAb) activities for oncology and immunology after receiving a $8 million investment from Baize Investments. The expanded activities will include a significant increase in the number of mAb candidates being developed in parallel against Compugen-discovered targets and the planned in-house establishment of certain key mAb preclinical development capabilities that were previously intended to be obtained solely from third parties. In exchange for its $8,000,000 in funding, Baize will receive a financial interest in certain mAb product candidates that achieve a specified development milestone, or have been licensed out, during the next three years. In addition, Baize has the right, during the first quarter of 2014, to waive its rights to all future benefits from this financial interest in exchange for 1,455,000 Compugen ordinary shares. Dr. Anat Cohen-Dayag, President and CEO of Compugen, stated, “During the last two years we were pleased to disclose successful validation of a number of our Pipeline Program therapeutic proteins, such as CGEN-15001 and CGEN-15091, in animal models of autoimmune diseases. mAbs are the most rapidly growing drug class, with over 20 mAbs already approved for therapeutic use in the U.S. and in addition have demonstrated a higher success rate in development than other drug classes. However, a key continuing challenge is the identification of novel promising targets. To this end, Compugen harnessed its unique predictive capabilities to develop target discovery platforms and now has a growing inventory of promising potential mAb targets in validation. A number of these targets are now approaching the point where further advancement will require the development of mAbs against them.” Monoclonal antibody (mAb) therapy is a class of biological drugs that bind with high specificity to target cells or proteins. Due to the versatility and specificity of this approach, mAb therapies are being intensively researched and developed as treatments for numerous serious diseases with the expectation of higher efficacy and fewer side effects compared to traditional chemical drugs. For cancer therapy, a mAb may inhibit cellular processes critical for tumor growth, stimulate the patient’s immune system to attack the target cancerous cells, or be used for targeted delivery of chemotherapy specifically to the cells identified by the antibodies. DataMonitor estimated the global monoclonal antibodies market to reach $65 billion by 2016. Moreover, according to an analysis done by Tufts University the rate of success for mAb therapeutics from first use in humans to regulatory approval is more than double that of traditional chemical drugs. Compugen is a therapeutic product discovery company based on systematic in silico (by computer) product candidate prediction and selection followed by experimental validation, with selected product candidates being advanced in its Pipeline Program to the pre-IND stage. Compugen’s in silico predictive models utilize a broad and continuously growing infrastructure of proprietary scientific understandings and predictive platforms, algorithms, machine learning systems and other computational biology capabilities.