Twist Bioscience and Astellas Pharma have signed a research partnership and an exclusive license for an option agreement for the development of antibodies against immunosuppression mediated by lower tumor microenvironment (TME).

Under the deal, Twist and Astellas will jointly conduct research to detect and streamline Twist antagonist antibodies as potential candidates for treatment development.

These antibodies will be designed to act on an undiscovered pathway inhibitor pathway in TME.

In addition, Astellas will have an exclusive licensing option for all applicants developed under this partnership.

Twist is entitled to receive an advance and additional payment from Astellas when exercising the licensing option.

In addition, Astellas will make Twist payments for clinical stages and copyright payments in sales of each product licensed under the agreement.

Astellas will develop, manufacture and market all licensed products developed as a result of this partnership.

Targeting the checkpoint inhibitor pathway in TME with antibody therapies is a new approach in which no antibodies are currently in clinical development.

Through this alliance, the companies plan to launch a specific and targeted attack on cancer cells by streamlining these development candidates and using Astellas’ flexible convertibleCAR cell therapy technology.

Emily Leprust, CEO and co-founder of Twist Bioscience, said: “Our strong ability to detect and optimize antibodies uniquely positions us to develop high-affinity and specific antibodies for historically difficult purposes, such as those that mediate immune suppression in TME.

“This off-licensing agreement confirms the potential of Twist-generated antibodies to enable the discovery and refinement of next-generation therapies.

In April this year, Astellas entered the second phase of a partnership with the University of Tokyo to jointly develop new treatments and medical solutions.

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