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Boehringer Ingelheim to boost antibody discovery with partner Twist

The biotech company will use Twist’s proprietary antibody libraries to discover therapeutic antibodies against multiple targets

High throughput screening ushered in a new era for drug discovery, automating the needle-in-a-haystack search for potential new drugs.

Boehringer Ingelheim will use the same concept in a new research collaboration with San Francisco-based Twist Bioscience, harnessing its antibody libraries to discover therapeutic antibodies that work against a range of BI targets.

Twist’s ability to manufacture DNA at scale has allowed it to construct proprietary antibody libraries precisely designed to match sequences that occur in the human body. This “library of libraries” and Twist’s expertise in the field “expedites antibody discovery by decreasing risk, increasing speed, and lowering the failure rate for antibody therapeutic development”, said the company.

“Boehringer Ingelheim believes Twist’s ability to generate potent, diverse therapeutic antibodies by mining its comprehensive libraries, combined with our extensive capabilities and experience in drug discovery and development, will enable us to deliver breakthrough opportunities to patients,” said Boehringer’s global head of discovery, Clive Wood.

As part of the deal, Twist Biopharma – a division of Twist Bioscience – will identify potential therapeutic antibodies and will then work with Boehringer to validate and optimise the candidates. Boehringer retains exclusive worldwide rights to develop and commercialise any therapeutic antibodies while Twist receives an upfront payment for each programme entry and up to $700m in success-based milestone payments.

“This discovery collaboration with Boehringer Ingelheim covering numerous targets truly illustrates the power of our antibody libraries,” said Twist CEO and co-founder Emily Leproust. “We have the ability to generate precise antibodies to a diverse range of targets, which together with Boehringer Ingelheim’s strength in drug development capabilities, could mean multiple new, more personalised treatments in the future for patients.”

Boehringer seems to have been reviewing its partnerships recently. In August, CureVac announced BI had pulled the plug on their long-running partnersip to develop an mRNA cancer vaccine, while in June the company signed a deal with AI developer Lifebit on tech that can rapidly scan scientific publications and real-world health data from around the world to identify potential new disease outbreaks, giving time for the BI’s drug development teams to address the disease.

Article by
Hugh Gosling

10th September 2021

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