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IRB Barcelona and Merus form a research collaboration to develop antibodies targeting the tumor microenvironment

Innovation
9 Feb 17

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The research collaboration will combine Merus’ Biclonics technology platform and unique cell and animal models at the Colorectal Cancer Laboratory led by Eduard Batlle to investigate the stroma.

Eduard Batlle's laboratory and Merus N.V. (NASDAQ:MRUS), a clinical-stage immuno-oncology company developing innovative bispecific antibody therapeutics, have announced this January entry into a research collaboration to jointly develop novel agents that target the tumor microenvironment.

The research collaboration will combine Merus’ Biclonics technology platform for the discovery and development of therapeutic bispecific antibodies and unique cell and animal models at the Colorectal Cancer Laboratory to evaluate therapeutic targeting of stromal cells that support tumor growth and metastasis.

This new research collaboration builds on the working relationship established in the suppresSTEM project (2013-2016), an European consortium to validate new treatments against colorectal cancer. "That collaboration resulted in MCLA-158, a Biclonics targeting EGFR and Lgr5 that is currently in IND-enabling studies,” said Mark Throsby, Chief Scientific Officer of Merus. “We anticipate that accessing IRB’s insights and tools to investigate the tumor stromal environment will support the discovery and validation of Biclonics that block the initiation and progression of metastatic cancer.”

"Merus’ Biclonics technology represents a promising platform to develop bispecific antibodies to specifically target the tumor stroma,” says Eduard Batlle. “We are optimistic that this partnership will streamline the generation of differentiated therapeutics to treat patients with difficult-to-treat cancer subtypes."

This collaboration is encompassed in the Botín Foundation's Research Programme, which Eduard Batlle belongs to.

About IRB Barcelona

Created in 2005 by the Generalitat de Catalunya (Government of Catalonia) and University of Barcelona, IRB Barcelona is a Severo Ochoa Centre of Excellence, a seal that was awarded in 2011. The institute is devoted to conducting research of excellence in biomedicine and to transferring results to clinical practice, thus improving people’s quality of life, while simultaneously promoting the training of outstanding researchers, technology transfer, and public communication of science. Its 27 laboratories and eight core facilities address basic questions in biology and are orientated to diseases such as cancer, metastasis, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and rare conditions. IRB Barcelona is an international centre that hosts 400 employees and more than 30 nationalities. It is located in the Barcelona Science Park. IRB Barcelona is a CERCA center, and a member of the Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology (BIST).