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Integral Molecular identifies potent antibody antagonists against ion channel pain target P2X3

December 11, 2013

PHILADELPHIA--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Integral Molecular, a leader in membrane protein antibody discovery, announces that it has successfully generated potent antibody antagonists targeting the P2X3 ion channel using the MPS Discovery Engine®, its proprietary strategy for antibody elicitation and optimization, in conjunction with Crystal Bioscience’s proprietary GEM technology for isolating unique monoclonal antibodies from immunized chickens.


P2X3 is a validated therapeutic target for pain, but its structural complexity has made it difficult to target using small molecules, and previous approaches using such drugs have failed due to the lack of compound specificity and limited bioavailability. Monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) offer superior specificity and bioavailability, which are paramount to the successful therapeutic inhibition of many membrane protein targets. Thorough characterization of the P2X3 MAbs reveals that they bind conformational epitopes on P2X3 with high specificity and sub-nanomolar affinity. The MAbs also block 90% of neuronal currents in primary cells ex vivo, enabling further development of lead candidates.


“We are extremely excited to have generated inhibitory MAbs that target P2X3. This is an exciting advancement for the chronic pain field where there are limited therapeutic options,” said Joseph Rucker, Director of Research and Development at Integral Molecular. “Because of their structural complexity and conservation, ion channels have been exceptionally challenging to target and inhibit and these P2X3 MAbs represent some of the few inhibitory antibodies against any ion channel. We are eager to move this campaign forward and progress our most promising leads into development to treat neuropathic pain”.


The antibodies were elicited using Integral Molecular’s Lipoparticle reagents, which provide highly concentrated membrane proteins in their native conformation, and were screened using Crystal Bioscience’s GEM technology.


“The recovery of antibodies with these unique characteristics confirms and extends our previous results, showing that the immunoglobulin repertoire of immunized chickens contains antibodies to epitopes that cannot be accessed using conventional discovery platforms. These data are also a testament to the power of the GEM technology to screen the repertoire and identify antibodies that not only bind the target but are biologically active” said Bill Harriman, Chief Science Officer at Crystal Bioscience. The synergistic application of MPS and GEM technologies results from a fruitful collaboration between the Companies announced last year, which will include more targets in the future.