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Boehringer Ingelheim acquires patents for antibody production

According to a recent announcement by the Bavarian patent exploitation agency of universities and higher education institutions, the pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim has acquired the rights for a therapeutic antibody development and manufacturing process.

According to information from the agency (Bayerische Patentallianz), which was founded in 2007, Boehringer Ingelheim has acquired the rights for all patents that are based on inventions by scientists at the Technical University in Munich. In the first instance, the rights will be valid in the whole of Germany. The process can be used to improve the manufacture of biotechnologically produced therapeutic antibodies.

Contacts with the light chain

Antibodies form part of the human immune defence system. The Y-shaped proteins are able to attack specific structures in the human body. Antibodies consist of two heavy and two light amino acid chains. During their basic research activities, Johannes Buchner, Professor of Biotechnology in the Department of Chemistry at the Technical University in Munich, and his team discovered that a specific section of the heavy chain only adopts a defined structure when it comes into contact with the light chain.

Improved biophysical characteristics

Based on this discovery, the researchers developed a new method that has the potential to improve the characteristics of biotechnologically produced antibodies: they introduced genetic modifications designed to improve the biophysical properties of the antibodies. In turn, this may then improve the stability, manufacture, manageability and storage life of the antibodies.

"The invention has the potential to increase productivity as a result of the enhanced biophysical characteristics of the antibodies," said Dorothee Ambrosius, head of Downstream Development in the Department of Biopharmaceuticals of Boehringer Ingelheim's site in Biberach.

This method could well be used in future for therapeutic antibodies. However, the researchers still have to test the principle on production-relevant systems as well as provide evidence for its economic efficiency. It takes between one and two years of development before a technical evaluation can be carried out. In the case of positive evaluation, the antibodies will be thoroughly tested in clinical trials. "Our goal is to use efficient production techniques to produce safe and inexpensive drugs for patients," said Ambrosius highlighting the philosophy of the family-run enterprise.

Website address: https://www.gesundheitsindustrie-bw.de/en/article/press-release/boehringer-ingelheim-acquires-patents-for-antibody-production