Regeneron bags Calixar tech to support antibody discovery effort

Regeneron has bought the right to use Calixar’s membrane protein technology to discover antibodies against an undisclosed target. The deal gives Regeneron access to technology designed to conserve the functional and structural integrity of targets.

France’s Calixar developed its technology to address shortcomings in the processes used to produce and isolate membrane proteins such as GPCRs, ion channels and receptors. Such proteins make up a sizable slice of all therapeutic targets. Efforts to drug the proteins are hindered by technologies that affect their integrity, driving researchers to use bypass methods such as refolding. 

Rather than modify proteins with deletions or point mutations, Calixar adapts the environment to the protein or antigen chemistry. In doing so, Calixar thinks it can improve on the integrity and quality of proteins isolated using other approaches. 

Regeneron has seen enough potential in the approach to strike a deal with Calixar. The agreement gives Regeneron the exclusive right to use Calixar’s technology and expertise in the research and discovery of antibodies against a single undisclosed target with applications in multiple therapeutic areas. Regeneron is paying an upfront fee of undisclosed size and committing to milestone payments.

The Regeneron collaboration will slot in alongside more than 20 client projects and R&D programs on the go at Calixar. Through these programs and other efforts, such as a joint publication with AstraZeneca, Calixar has established a reputation in its niche. But the deal with Regeneron, a leader in antibody discovery and development, represents a milestone for the business. 

“It confirms the biopharma industry’s focus on fully-native, functional therapeutic targets for the development of high-quality antibodies and lead candidates with the optimal chance of becoming future blockbusters that address unmet medical needs,” Calixar CEO Emmanuel Dejean said in a statement.