Over the years, TSRI’s tradition of high impact research has resulted in many opportunities where early stage technologies can be translated into therapeutic products, having a significant effect on the treatment of various diseases. At present, there are three late stage (phase III) products in development that TSRI scientists played a significant role in the development of. In addition, there are currently five approved drugs that were discovered utilizing TSRI technology.
TSRI’s clinical impact is drawn from a diversity of scientific strengths in areas including antibody, peptide, and small molecule therapeutics. The broad application of the technologies enabled through our research and the impact they have on treating patients, underscores the focus and cross-disciplinary nature of the science being conducted at TSRI.
Several therapeutic products are currently on the market utilizing TSRI technology. One of these, which utilizes phage display technology developed at TSRI, Humira®, is one of the most widely used biologic therapies on the market, and is indicated for the treatment of several autoimmune disorders. Another recently launched therapeutic antibody, Benlysta®, also enabled utilizing TSRI phage display technology, is of special interest as it is the first medication to be approved for lupus in 56 years. Other marketed drugs incorporating TSRI technology include Leustatin®, indicated for leukemias and lymphomas; Monoclate-P®, a biologic therapy effective in the treatment of hemophilia; and Vyndaqel®, an example of the power of structure-based drug discovery which is used to treat the neurodegenerative condition familial amyloid polyneuropathy.
Companies that have licensed TSRI technology are in late stage development and seeking approval for a number of indications with substantial unmet medical need. If approved, patients suffering from brain cancer may benefit from the novel treatment options found in the products Cilengitide® and ch14.18 as they would be indicated for glioblastoma and neuroblastoma respectively. Also pending approval is Surfaxin®, a product that may prove valuable in treating infants born prematurely and suffering from respiratory distress syndrome.
The contribution of phage display technology developed at TSRI has opened discovery pathways to multiple products in the antibody therapeutic space. In addition to the already mentioned, Humira® and Benlysta®, TSRI phage display technology was implemented in the discovery of several other antibodies currently in development by various companies for indications including cardiovascular, inflammatory, respiratory, and oncologic conditions.
CovX Pharmaceuticals was founded in 2002 and based on technology developed by Carlos Barbas and Richard Lerner at TSRI. The company is focused on long-acting, bivalent biopharmaceutical therapeutics, including proprietary peptide and monoclonal antibody (mAb) fusions, known as CovX-Bodies, to address unmet medical needs with a pipeline comprising cancer and metabolic disorder therapeutics. In 2008, CovX became a wholly owned subsidiary of Pfizer.
The Barbas lab was also instrumental in devising zinc finger technology, engineered “molecular scissor” proteins capable of removing specific genomic DNA sequences. The zinc finger platform, licensed by Sangamo BioSciences, has generated SB-728 and SB-313 for the treatment of HIV and gliomas.
TSRI has several additional therapeutics at an early stage of commercial development.