Biocytogen to develop fully human nanobody drugs for over 100 targets

Dr. Yuelei Shen, President and CEO of Biocytogen

Biocytogen Pharmaceuticals (Beijing) Co., Ltd. launched the “Nano 100 Project,” to develop fully human nanobody drugs for over 100 targets. The Project combines Biocytogen’s proprietary fully human nanobody mouse, RenNanoTM, with its high-throughput in vitro and in vivo antibody screening platforms to develop fully human nanobody drugs at scale.

Why this is a gamechanger for drug makers

Compared to antibodies, nanobodies have smaller molecular weights and improved tissue penetration ability, thus effective at infiltrating tumors and crossing blood-brain barriers. They also have longer CDR3 regions to enable them to recognize hidden epitopes better.

Due to their simpler structure, nanobodies are more stable and easier to produce and engineer, making them ideal building blocks for complex modalities like cell therapy, bispecific antibody and engager, multi-specific antibody, antibody drug-conjugate (ADC), and radionuclide antibody-conjugate (RAC). After several attempts, Biocytogen successfully engineered the RenNano mouse from its fully human antibody mouse, RenMabTM.

RenNano mouse possesses full human heavy chain variable regions and can produce heavy-chain-only antibodies (HCAbs). The variable regions of HCAbs, i.e., nanobodies, do not require in vitro humanization to develop drugs. Our research has shown that RenNano mouse can generate robust immune responses after immunizations by different antigens.

HCAbs generated from the RenNano mouse have highly diverse CDR3 sequences and can recognize many epitopes with nM-level high affinities. In vitro and in vivo experiments have shown that RenNano-derived antibodies have favorable biological functions.

What is the mission behind Nano 100 Project?

Based on RenNano’s excellent ability to discover fully human nanobodies, Biocytogen has launched the “Nano 100 Project”. The Project aims to develop fully human therapeutic nanobodies against over 100 targets, including tumor associated antigens (TAAs), GPCRs, immune-checkpoints, cytokines, and factors related to neurological diseases.

Biocytogen is actively seeking collaborations with global pharmaceutical and biotech firms to combine its large-scale nanobody development abilities with collaborators’ expertise in nanobody-related therapeutics, like cell therapies, bispecific and multi-specific antibodies, ADCs and RACs, to develop novel drugs with first-in-class and/or best-in-class potentials.

Commenting on the Nano 100 Project, Dr. Yuelei Shen, President and CEO of Biocytogen, said, “We believe that with the ability to rapidly develop fully human nanobodies against selected targets, the ‘Nano 100 Project’ will provide our global partners with more diverse and better nanobody building blocks to accelerate the development of novel drugs. Meanwhile, it is also an important supplement to Biocytogen’s Project Integrum.”