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Nektar Therapeutics Exercises License Option with Biolojic Design for AI-Crafted Agonistic Antibody Aimed at TNFR2 to Treat Autoimmune Diseases

Thursday, April 25, 2024

Biolojic Design, a biotech company specializing in AI-driven antibody innovation, announced that Nektar has exercised its license option to develop a program resulting from their collaborative research started in 2021. This joint effort focused on designing and testing agonistic antibodies targeting tumor necrosis factor receptor type II (TNFR2), a challenging-to-address biological target implicated in various autoimmune diseases.

The selected antibody program, now referred to as NKTR-0165, aims to modulate the TNFR2 pathway to activate T regulatory cells and other anti-inflammatory cell populations. This novel approach holds promise for enhancing the immune system in conditions such as ulcerative colitis, multiple sclerosis, vitiligo, and other autoimmune diseases. Nektar, in accordance with the 2021 research agreement, has evaluated antibodies computationally designed by Biolojic Design to precisely target the TNFR2 receptor.

Following successful preclinical tests in vitro and in vivo, Nektar has chosen to advance the program through studies aimed at preparing for Investigational New Drug (IND) application since late December 2023. If the NKTR-0165 candidate progresses through clinical development, Biolojic Design is entitled to receive development milestones and royalties from sales.

Yanay Ofran, Ph.D., CEO and founder of Biolojic Design, stated, "The unique agonist antibodies targeting TNFR2 highlight the effectiveness of Biolojic’s AI platform for antibody design. These antibodies can not only functionally activate TNFR2 but also do so in a highly distinctive manner. We eagerly anticipate Nektar’s progress with this promising molecule through clinical development, potentially benefiting numerous autoimmune disease patients."

Jonathan Zalevsky, Chief Research and Development Officer of Nektar, commented, "We are excited to advance NKTR-0165 through IND-enabling studies in 2024, with the aim of filing an IND in the first half of 2025."



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