Using our proprietary IgM platform, we are committed to developing and delivering a new class of medicines to treat patients with cancer and autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.

The widely used IgG antibody – the well-known, Y-shaped protein with the ability to bind to specific targets – has been shown to be effective in treating cancer and autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. Yet IgG antibodies have only two binding units. This means they can struggle to hold on to hard-to-bind disease targets and are limited to binding two targets per antibody.

The Power of Avidity

Our approach is different and is based on the IgM antibody, one of the five classes of naturally occurring human antibodies. A pentameric IgM antibody has ten binding units, enabling it to bind to more targets, which allows the total binding power of the antibody – known as avidity – to be greater. This advantage is like picking up an object using two hands, rather than using only two fingers. We also have the ability to adjust the natural binding strength of each individual IgM binding unit – known as affinity – and developed a method to manufacture engineered IgM antibodies efficiently.

The high avidity and selected affinity of our IgM molecules potentially brings a number of benefits to product candidates under development.

They can bind to difficult targets and targets that are less common on the surface of targeted cells. They can also bind to multiple targets simultaneously on the surface of tumor cells and create apoptotic signals that ultimately lead to the death of cancer cells. Further, the ten binding units of an IgM antibody can more efficiently neutralize the ability of viruses to infect cells. Most importantly, our carefully engineered IgM molecules may potentially translate to better clinical responses and greater efficacy for patients.

The potential for IgM-based medicines

Efficiently Producing IgM Antibodies

Researchers have long appreciated the potential for IgM antibody-based medicines but have been stymied by the technical challenges of efficiently creating and manufacturing highly specific IgM antibodies. Over the past 10 years, our scientists and engineers have pushed the boundaries of antibody technology and systematically tackled these challenges. Through a series of scientific breakthroughs, both in the lab and in large scale GMP manufacturing processes, we have developed a wide variety of proprietary methods and techniques that have enabled us to efficiently produce engineered IgM antibodies at scale.

Our expertise in designing and manufacturing IgM antibodies is central to our strategy to create innovative new medicines to help patients. We continue to expand our knowledge, expertise, and capabilities in this new field, and we have built a dedicated GMP manufacturing facility in Mountain View, CA.