Here at Fusion Antibodies, we’re celebrating our 200th Antibody Humanisation project, cementing our place as a leading CRO in antibody engineering services.

“This 200th Humanisation milestone is a wonderful achievement and I’m delighted for all of these projects which we have successfully completed,” says Paul Kerr, CEO of Fusion Antibodies.

Many therapeutic antibodies start off as a non-human animal antibody and are “humanised” to avoid generating an immune response. Since the Fusion Antibodies adventure started in 2001, we have expanded the number of antibody engineering services we offer. All of this has grown from our core expertise in antibody humanisation.

In 2012 we crystallised our know-how into our proprietary CDRx™️ platform, combining our laboratory experience with powerful in silico techniques. We graft the residues responsible for affinity from the animal parent antibody onto carefully selected mature human donor frameworks that we know to be stable and express well. We know exactly which residues are key to maintaining structure and function and our in silico phase screens out sequence liabilities that can impact stability, immunogenicity, expression, and manufacturing.

Using our CDRx™️ platform, we provide our clients with a 25-variant panel of humanised antibodies that retain the affinity of the parent antibody and that are development-ready. At least a third of antibodies from our earlier humanisation projects have entered clinical trials and we’re looking forward to following the trajectory of our newer projects.

“I look forward to the next 200 projects and working with drug developers around globe to create better drugs to unmet medical needs,” says Kerr.

We work with a range of customers, from small academic groups to small biotech start-ups, all the way up to big pharmaceutical companies, and many of our customers return for repeat business. Our customers have brought us antibodies from mice, rats, chicken, llamas and birds. They have brought us full antibodies, scFvs and Fabs. And we’re proud to say that every project has finished with a successfully humanised antibody with affinity within a 2-fold difference from the parent antibody. That isn’t our only guarantee. Other CROs offer a “success or your money back” service. We go a step further, and guarantee a successfully humanised antibody, full stop. We keep going until we have a panel of humanised variants with comparable affinity to the parent antibody.  We won’t give up after one attempt, like many of our competitors, or offer your money back. We promise to keep going until we have succeeded.

“I feel proud to have developed such a robust antibody humanization platform, that consistently provides highly manufacturable antibodies to our clients. I am confident that some of the antibodies Fusion has designed will soon be marketed worldwide for the benefit of human healthcare.” says Dr Richard Buick, Chief Technical Officer of Fusion Antibodies.

The success of Fusion’s approach is down to a carefully cultivated mix of experience, curiosity and innovation. “Innovation is in our DNA at Fusion Antibodies,” says Kerr, “We will continue to improve our CDRx™️ platform with machine learning and AI.”

According to the FDA, antigen tests will play a critical role in the fight against COVID-19 and like many other companies within the antibody world at large, Fusion Antibodies leveraged their antigen expertise to create multiple antigens to be used against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Our extensive antigen manufacturing capabilities means that we have been able to express high-purity antigens on a commercially viable scale – the rapid scale up production of COVID-19 antigens is critical for the development of widely available diagnostic tests. Unlike the PCR tests that are currently being used, these diagnostics will be able to confirm past infections and determine levels of immunity to COVID-19. This could be invaluable for disease modelling and public health policy, as true transmission rates and case fatality rates can be determined.

The RBD (Receptor Binding Domain) proteins created by Fusion Antibodies were tested by external partners against patient blood samples that they had previously tested against a leading certified benchmark test and our results, shown in the graph below, correlated exactly.

Dr Richard Buick, Chief Technical Officer of Fusion Antibodies, said:

“We are committed to developing the highest quality reagents to be used in the fight against COVID-19. Recent lab studies have shown that results using our antigens correlate 100% with clinical data from patients infected with SARS-CoV-2. We are using these high quality antigens to pan our human antibody library for SARS-CoV-2 neutralising antibodies, and we are delighted to now be able to make these antigens available to companies and researchers around the world to Test, Track & Trace this disease.”

Paul Kerr, CEO of Fusion Antibodies said:

“According to the FDA, antigen tests will play a critical role in the fight against COVID-19 and like many other companies within the antibody world at large, we are leveraging our antigen expertise to create multiple antigens to be used against the COVID-19 pandemic.”

COVID-19: Antigen Design and Manufacture

Sample data below from the SARS-CoV-2 RBD protein validated externally from over 100 samples in total using a commercial assay and patient +ve sera.

 

Dr Leona McGirr of Fusion Antibodies has received a top honour at the annual celebration of the most outstanding Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) Projects.

At the reimagined ‘Virtual Awards Ceremony’ which took place on 09 September 2020, Dr McGirr was awarded the “Best of the Best, Future Innovator Award.”

The Future Innovator category of the KTP Best of the Best Awards spotlights the depth and diversity of opportunities created for KTP Associates – as well as the exceptional impact made by these talented Graduates and Post Graduates who lead each KTP Project.

KTP Associate, Leona McGirr (PhD Physical Chemistry) led the KTP project for Fusion Antibodies, supporting the company’s service offering in antibody engineering; transforming capabilities and competitiveness in the antibody discovery space and helping biotechnology and pharmaceutical organisations speed up the development of the best antibodies possible. Ultimately, helping organisations accelerate the provision of treatments that improve the lives of patients throughout the world.

On receiving her award, Leona said:

“I am hugely honoured to win this award which would not have been possible without the support and encouragement from the Professor Chris Scott group at the Patrick Johnson Centre, Queens University Belfast (QUB) and the QUB KTP Office.

“Leadership is also collaborative, and I would like to give my heartfelt thanks to all of my colleagues at Fusion Antibodies who make it such an inspirational place to work and who all played an integral part in this win.”

Professor Chris Scott of the Patrick G Johnston Centre who has supported Dr McGirr through this project, shared his congratulations:

“I am absolutely delighted for Leona and the team that has been developed at Fusion on this project. KTP is a fantastic vehicle for technology and skills development and we at the Patrick G Johnston Centre are delighted to support our local companies to develop their technologies.”

Lorraine Marks, Head of KTP & Business Engagement Programmes commented:

“There were an unprecedented number of high-quality nominations in the Future Innovator category this year – Leona’s award is a testament to the real benefit that she has delivered to her company partner through collaboration with Professor Scott

Paul Kerr, CEO of Fusion Antibodies said:

“We are hugely proud of Leona and her achievement. Dr McGirr is an exceptional scientist who is a role model inspiring the next generation of female scientists and we hope that as an organisation we can continue to increase the presence of female talent in the world of science.”

 

A Belfast-based bid led by Queens University Belfast (QUB), is one of only two bids from Northern Ireland to be selected for the next stage of the UK Research and Innovation’s Strength in Places Fund (SIPF).

Fusion Antibodies is one of the Northern Ireland Precision Biomarkers and Therapeutics Consortium (NIBT), which is behind the bid. The consortium brings together partners from industry and academia including; Almac Group, Sonrai Analytics, Proaxsis, Diaceutics, and Exploristics.

The aim of the Consortium is to build on Northern Ireland’s existing strengths in digital health and biosciences to develop new, more cost-effective targeted drugs and antibodies and new ways of diagnosing cancer and other conditions.

The SIPF long-term aim is to boost research and innovation capacity and secure highly skilled jobs to the region to enhance its competitiveness and prosperity, and we support this application from Northern Ireland’s life and health science sector.

Paul Kerr, CEO of Fusion Antibodies said:

“We are incredibly excited to be a member of the Northern Ireland Therapeutics Consortium. This alliance between Queens University and other industry bodies has been established to drive and support ambitious growth within our Life Sciences sector.

“The NIBT will drive collaboration and connectivity across business, academia and health organisations.

“Not only is this early-stage funding a major endorsement of our plans, it is also an opportunity for the consortium to boast Northern Ireland as the ideal environment for cutting-edge healthcare R&D and innovations, benefiting patient health and economic growth alike.”

The bid is one of just 17 ambitious projects to receive early-stage funding to develop full-stage proposals.

Teams behind these projects will now submit their bids to UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), with four to eight of the strongest set to receive between £10m and £50m each to carry out projects designed to drive substantial economic growth.

UKRI Strength in Places Fund lead, David Sweeney, said:

“Strength in Places is a flagship fund for UKRI. We welcome the focus of the UK Government’s R&D Roadmap in unlocking economic opportunities around local economy in more places around the UK.

“I am delighted with the range of bids funded across the UK in the second wave of Strength in Places that will foster the local ecosystems to support innovation and sustained growth and strengthen collaboration between industry and our world-class research base.”

As part of our efforts to combat the Covid-19 pandemic, Fusion Antibodies have designed and expressed a panel of unique recombinant protein antigens for use in our new Fully Human Antibody Library platform and other discovery platforms in the search for a neutralising therapeutic antibody against SARS-CoV 2.  ​

The panel of proteins incorporate a unique RBD construct, as well as S1 and full spike ectodomain proteins incorporating the D614G mutation, and have shown excellent profiles in terms of activity and scalability.  ​

We are conscious that the fight against Covid-19 is a worldwide effort and as such we are happy to announce our decision to make these proteins available to our partners in the diagnostic field. 

Studies prove antigens created by Fusion Antibodies accurately identify SARS-CoV-2

Read more here

Draft Certificate of Analysis Documents for our S1 and RBD Proteins. Both documents reflect early stages of product development.

Fusion Antibodies have named BioTickle as their exclusive distributor in India to provide local biotherapeutic developers access to proprietary antibody discovery, engineering and cell line development technologies.

Fusion Antibodies, based in Belfast, Northern Ireland, are experts in antibody development and offer a seamless array of end-to-end services to get their client’s molecules GMP ready with a focus on quality and commercial viability. The partnership with BioTickle will allow Fusion Antibodies to extend its reach to R&D organisations in India that have a need for unique and innovative technology to give them an edge in an increasingly competitive region. BioTickle’s local knowledge and expertise, particularly with respect to biosimilars, perfectly underpins Fusion Antibodies global outreach.

Paul Kerr, CEO, Fusion Antibodies, “We recognize that India is a world leader when it comes to biosimilars and BioTickle definitely have their finger on the pulse. With the patents on a number of blockbuster biologics approaching expiry, we only expect the intensity in this area to grow. A lot of expertise has been gained since the first biosimilar was approved and working with BioTickle, we are also seeing this expertise being applied with increasing interest to novel molecules. We believe Fusion Antibodies could greatly benefit the local industry and we’ve found the perfect partner in BioTickle to underpin our growth.”

Uday Ulhe, Chief Technology Leader, BioTickle, commented: “We are excited to be able to offer the services of Fusion Antibodies to our vast customer base in India and Asia-Pacific. Getting the foundations right at early stages of antibody development ensures a much more successful outcome and certainly streamlines downstream process development. Once the molecule makes it to the manufacturing and clinical stages the economies of those early decisions can really be felt.. We look forward to delivering a packaged service with Fusion Antibodies that helps our clients get to the clinic with the best biologic possible.”

About Fusion Antibodies

Fusion Antibodies delivers new technology and innovation throughout early-stage antibody discovery. As a drug discovery and research partner, our scientists increase the pace to the clinic by guiding clients to develop the best antibodies possible. Through the early stages of drug discovery, we enable biotechnology and pharmaceutical organisations towards their end-goal – the provision of treatments that improve the lives of patients throughout the world.

About BioTickle

Established in 2012 with a vision to make biosimilars available and affordable to approximately 5 billion people living in the Asia Pacific region. BioTickle began with with populating single use bioreactors and the automation of bioprocesses to now offer end to end solutions for biotherapeutic development with impact analysis.

BioTickle’s expertise is in end-to-end processing and the company offers solutions to improve efficiencies at both the research & development level and the industrial production level. BioTickle navigates new technologies and runs it through a panel of scientists with simulations in labs and impact analysis on full operations, offering recommendations to improve bioprocess efficiency.

Fusion Antibodies (AIM: FAB), specialists in pre-clinical antibody discovery, engineering and supply, announces that the Company is working with Queen’s University Belfast (“QUB”) as part of The Northern Ireland Coronavirus Antibody Development Alliance (“NICADA”), which has been established to seek new therapeutic and diagnostic approaches to help in the global fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

NICADA aims to develop new therapeutic molecules that can be evaluated for their ability to neutralize SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 disease.

Working with Professor Ultan Power in the Wellcome-Wolfson Institute of Experimental Medicine, Professor Chris Scott in The Patrick G Johnston Centre for Cancer Research and Dr Fuquan Lui in the School of Biological Sciences, at QUB, it is intended that Fusion will prepare antibodies that will potentially neutralise the virus. There is a shortage of key reagents for testing globally and, although not a core service currently offered by the Company, Fusion Antibodies will be using their expertise in the development of key antibody related reagents

Fusion and QUB have not agreed to any financial arrangements in respect of the research alliance, and the arrangement is not expected to impact Fusion’s revenue or working capital position.

Paul Kerr, Chief Executive Officer of Fusion Antibodies said: “We are delighted to be able assist in the global battle against coronavirus. In the first instance we’ll work with Queen’s University Belfast to use our expertise in the development of any key reagents.”

Professor Chris Scott, Director of the Patrick G Johnston Cancer Centre, Queen’s University Belfast, said: “By bringing together diverse researchers from virology, biological sciences and cancer research we are rapidly contributing to the development of new reagents that could not only neutralize the virus, but also aid diagnostic efforts; both of which are needed to inform decisions on lifting the current lockdown. We are delighted to initiate this alliance with Fusion Antibodies and to direct our research capabilities towards tackling this global pandemic.”

Ultan Power, Professor of Molecular Virology, Queen’s University Belfast said: “The NICADA alliance provides an excellent opportunity to generate novel therapeutics and diagnostics to help the global fight against SARS-CoV-2.”

The NICADA alliance is actively harnessing leading scientific talent to assist with tackling the global coronavirus pandemic.

Enquiries:

Dr Paul Kerr, Chief Executive Officer Via Walbrook PR

James Fair, Chief Financial Officer

Dear Customers and Vendors:

We would like to update you on the current Coronavirus/COVID-19 situation and how it’s impacting the production and supply of Fusion Antibodies services to you.

  • To date, March 19th 2020, while we presently have no employees with confirmed COVID-19, we do have a number of staff self-isolating as a precaution. This has been done to ensure the health and safety of our employees and continued laboratory operations. 

  • Regarding our ongoing operations, in the interest of ensuring employee safety while maintaining business continuity, we are reorganizing laboratory and business operations with a balance of structured onsite laboratory shifts and remote, work-from-home practices.

  • From a supply chain perspective, we currently have sufficient supplies to support current and new programs for the next quarter. 

We are working for a number of our clients with potential solutions to COVID- 19 and have prioritised this work as part of the global effort to fight this virus.

You will continue to receive updates from technical team leaders as usual. In the meantime, please contact us via email info@fusionantibodies.com,  or reach out directly to your business development lead if you have any queries or concerns.

The Fusion Antibodies leadership team is focused on monitoring the Coronavirus issue and ensuring we are taking the necessary steps for business continuity. We continue to pay close attention to communications from government agencies as well as the World Health Organization and Public Health Agency (PHA). 

We are doing everything we can to keep our employees safe and well informed and to maintain business operations. 

Stay safe

CEO

Fusion Antibodies

Fusion Antibodies, a leading antibody discovery and development company, and Queen’s University Belfast, (173rd ranked University worldwide) have launched a fourth collaboration through a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP). The new programme will allow for the development of an innovative software solution for the design of antibody libraries. The solution will be integrated into the service offering provided by Fusion Antibodies in antibody engineering, to transform capabilities and competitiveness in the antibody discovery space.

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP) is a UK-wide programme that has been helping businesses in the UK to innovate and grow for over 40 years. KTPs are funded by UKRI through Innovate UK with the support of co-funders, including the Scottish Funding Council, Welsh Government, Invest Northern Ireland, Defra and BEIS. Innovate UK manages the KTP Programme and facilitates its delivery through a range of partners including the Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN), Knowledge Bases and Businesses.

Queen’s University Belfast has partnered with businesses through the KTP initiative for over 25 years, and in May 2019 was the winner of the National Award for ‘Outstanding Contribution from a KTP Support Team’.

Paul Kerr, CEO of Fusion Antibodies commented “We are delighted to partner with Queen’s University through their Knowledge Transfer Partnership programme.  We have worked with Queen’s on multiple KTPs that have provided us with extraordinary talent and resources. Linking with the brightest minds in academia allows us to add another dimension to the knowledge-based service that we offer in the early stages of antibody discovery and development.”

Through the KTP programme, the partnership aims to recruit a suitably qualified software graduate to work in Fusion Antibodies on a collaborative project over an 18-month period.

“I am delighted that Fusion Antibodies are continuing their commitment to the KTP programme and Queen’s University. Their commitment to helping biotech companies deliver treatments for previously unmet medical needs offers graduates an opportunity to learn from both academic and industry experts. KTP sets them on the path to become future industry leaders, bringing to life the strategic plans of an innovative company such as Fusion Antibodies.” Lorraine Marks, Head of KTP and Business Engagement Programmes at Queens University Belfast.

About Fusion Antibodies

Fusion Antibodies delivers new technology and innovation throughout early-stage antibody discovery. As a drug discovery and research partner, our scientists increase the pace to the clinic by guiding clients to develop the best antibodies possible. Through the early stages of drug discovery, we enable biotechnology and pharmaceutical organisations towards their end-goal – the provision of treatments that improve the lives of patients throughout the world.

About Queen’s University, Belfast

Queen’s University Belfast is one of the leading universities in the UK and Ireland, with a distinguished heritage and history. With over 24,000 students, 4,200 staff and an annual turnover of some £300m, Queen’s University Belfast plays a unique leadership role in Northern Ireland. As a member of the Russell Group of UK research-intensive universities, Queen’s University Belfast combines excellence in research and education with a student-centred ethos.

Fusion Antibodies, a leading antibody discovery and development company, and E2DG, a drug development group, today announced a strategic collaboration to provide asset-centric drug discovery companies access to an end-to-end service in oncology drug discovery. The two companies will work together to deliver a seamless service offering for clients from discovery to manufacturing and PoC preclinical and phase I & II design and execution.

Under the agreement asset-centric oncology drug discovery companies will benefit from Fusion Antibodies’ expertise in the discovery and early development of novel and highly developable therapeutic antibodies and from the experience of E2DG in preclinical efficacy and phase I/II oncology clinical trials.

Christophe Mazars, CEO of E2DG, stated, “We have worked with Fusion Antibodies for more than eight years and we continue to deepen our relationship to provide the expertise, tools and services in oncology drug development to our clients. Collaborating with Fusion Antibodies provides our clients with access to platforms and tools to create exceptional antibodies against challenging targets, with the knowledge these antibodies will have been engineered, selected and optimised for performance and manufacturability.”

Paul Kerr, CEO of Fusion Antibodies, adds “E2DG’s track record of facilitating the delivery of ground-breaking oncology drugs to market is testament to their expertise in this space. We are delighted to be able to offer this next step for our clients who are committed to the provision of treatments that improve the lives of patients throughout the world.”

The strengths and synergies of these two companies will help drug discovery companies around the world to expedite the development of their therapeutic assets in a streamlined and efficient manner ensuring maximum value is added, in a capital efficient manner.  

About Fusion Antibodies

Fusion Antibodies delivers new technology and innovation throughout early-stage antibody discovery. As a drug discovery and research partner, our scientists increase the pace to the clinic by guiding clients to develop the best antibodies possible. From ideation through the early stages of drug discovery, we enable biotechnology and pharmaceutical organisations towards their end-goal – the provision of treatments that improve the lives of patients throughout the world.

About Early Drug Development Group (E2DG)

E2DG supports biotech start-ups, investment fund groups and academic organizations in oncology to foster their R&D programs in a time- and cost-effective manner. With strong preclinical and pharmacological capabilities and experienced medical oncologist input, we offer professional assistance on preclinical drug development approaches and Phase I Clinical Trials to maximize the chance of your project success in oncology.

E2DG is focused on preclinical and clinical research specialized in the development of innovative first-in-class therapeutic agents in oncology. We have performed several drug development programs with more than 20 companies –ranging from small biotech to the largest pharma companies– for the evaluation of over 20 different leads (at least 8 first-in-man) in oncology, covering both small molecules and monoclonal antibodies.