Affimed Therapeutics AG, the therapeutic antibody company from Heidelberg, announced today that it is now concentrating all activities on the exclusive development of its in-house drug candidates derived from the company's proprietary TandAb technology platform. In line with this, the Company has spun-out its antibody discovery activities into a new company: AbCheck s.r.o, (Plzen, Czech Republic).
Affimed will now concentrate on preparing the first clinical study for its lead product AFM 13 to treat Hodgkin's lymphoma. The Phase I study for AFM 13 is expected to begin in the first half of 2010. AFM 13 is an innovative bispecific antibody based on the company's patented TandAb technology. TandAbs are tetravalent antibodies with manifold application possibilities. The TandAbs in the oncology indications bind target molecules on the surface of tumor cells and simultaneously activate T cells or natural killer cells (NK cells). TandAbs are able to identify and selectively destroy tumor cells in the human body. Preclinical data on AFM 13 shows great promise for safety, tolerability and efficacy of the antibody to treat Hodgkin's lymphoma. Further antibody programs are in advanced preclinical development for the treatment of Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma, solid tumors, autoimmune diseases and asthma. AbCheck will continue Affimed's activities in antibody discovery. Additionally, AbCheck will provide its longstanding antibody discovery and engineering expertise to biotech and pharma partners and provide access to its patent-protected technologies. Commercial partners will also have access to Affimed's unique and validated therapeutic antibody libraries. AbCheck specializes in customized antibody discovery and generation for therapeutic applications. Based on three different fully human antibody libraries, the technology portfolio covers all aspects regarding the generation of therapeutic antibodies from research to lead optimisation. The company is managed by an experienced team with longstanding expertise in the isolation of antibodies. Dr Volker Lang, formerly Chief Business Officer at Affimed, is appointed Managing Director of AbCheck. Dr Thomas Hecht, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Affimed commented: "With our broad preclinical product portfolio Affimed is about to enter clinical development with the first, unique TandAb antibodies. With the Company's transition into a clinical development organization, we feel it is necessary to further focus our business model. At the same time, this transition frees up new potential for the commercialization of our discovery expertise and a broad proprietary technology portfolio, which we will exploit further with our new antibody discovery spinout AbCheck. Dr Rolf H. Günther, Chief Executive Officer at Affimed added: "We are very pleased that we have been able to secure Dr Lang as Managing Director for AbCheck. We are convinced that he and his experienced team will rapidly progress the new company to a successful commercial player in the therapeutic antibody market."