We have recently developed antibody formats that can effectively engage GI tract disease targets after simple oral delivery in a food matrix, and have developed associated scalable manufacturing technology using secretion from yeast and spraydrying of these antibody products. All processes are akin to those used in the manufacturing of food enzymes.
A veterinary medicine techtransfer track built on this initial work is nearing completion with active venture fundraising for creation of a startup company to develop the lead product against porcine enterotoxigenic E. coli.
Meanwhile, the lab is further developing the antibody platform and has generated novel IP in this space, with a main techtransfer orientation towards application in human medicine, for which the technology is currently ready for proof of concept work in preclinical models. Hence, the overall objective of this IOF Advanced proposal is (i) to further develop and integrate this IP portfolio on yeast-secreted orally deliverable antibody formats and their proprietary manufacturing know-how and (ii) to obtain solid proof of therapeutic concept for two targets of large interest in human medicine, in the relevant preclinical mouse models.
This will bring the readiness level of the biopharmaceutical technology to a point that enables venture fundraising for a startup company in the human medicine space, with sufficiently derisked assets that optimize the value creation for the UGent-VIB joint venture.