There are over 15 different glycans commonly added to glycoproteins or glycolipids, either sequentially or in branched formats. This glycosylation, commonly referred to as the cellular “glycome” and executed by a combination of intricately regulated enzymes, undergoes dramatic changes during malignant transformation, leading to the generation of many unique cancer targets. Scancell has developed a novel technology for producing monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) that recognise these glycans with high specificity.
Most approaches to generate anti-glycan antibodies have not been successful, as the resulting mAbs displayed low target affinity or low specificity, resulting in off-target toxicity. Scancell has used its in-house scientific understanding and expertise to develop a new technology platform, called GlyMAb™, which can be employed to produce differentiated anti-cancer mAbs that target glycans rather than proteins or lipids, thus expanding the target range as the same glycan modification can be present on a number of glycoproteins and/or glycolipids. Consequently, a glycan-targeting antibody can be developed into multiple products with different mechanisms of action. For example, they could deliver potent drugs as antibody drug conjugates (ADCs), be used in a bispecific format to redirect T cells or their binding domains used for chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) cell therapy.
Scancell has created a portfolio of anti-glycan antibodies that have exceptionally high specificity and affinity for their targets. Our current portfolio includes four mAbs that directly target different glycans on tumour cells and one mAb targeting a checkpoint molecule present on T cells. These five mAbs are undergoing preclinical characterisation, with target validation underway for a number of other mAbs to add to the growing portfolio.