HEIDELBERG, Germany, Jan. 7, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Affimed N.V. (Nasdaq: AFMD), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing targeted cancer immunotherapies, today announced that it has been awarded a EUR 2.4 million ($3 million) grant from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). The grant, awarded under the BMBF's "KMU-innovative: Biotechnology - BioChance" program, will cover approximately 40% of funding for a research and development program to develop multi-specific antibodies for the treatment of multiple myeloma.
"The rapid and effective killing of tumor cells by immune cells relies on targeting antigens specific to the tumor that are not expressed on healthy cells. Currently only relatively few of these antigens are considered to be appropriate targets. With the trispecific approach we expect to be able to expand that space considerably, enabling effective treatment of many tumor types," explained Dr. Adi Hoess, Affimed's Chief Executive Officer. "We are grateful for the BMBF's commitment to financially support our efforts in developing Trispecific Abs to create novel treatment options for patients suffering from devastating cancers such as multiple myeloma."
Affimed has developed new classes of tetravalent, tumor cell-engaging antibodies, bispecific TandAbs and Trispecific Abs, both of which target cytotoxic effector cells (such as T- or NK-cells) and tumor cells at the same time. TandAbs selectively bind to one antigen on the effector cell and one antigen on the tumor cell, bringing these cells close together and triggering a signaling cascade that results in destruction of the tumor cell. The bispecific T- and NK-cell recruitment approach has already been clinically validated in Affimed's two clinical-stage programs. Trispecific Abs are based on the same principle but are able to recognize two different antigens on cancer cells in addition to the effector cell antigen. This results in especially high affinity and, importantly, in increased selectivity for malignant tissues compared to healthy tissues.
About NK-Cell TandAbs, T-Cell TandAbs and Trispecific Abs
Affimed develops TandAbs and Trispecific Abs to substantially increase the efficacy, specificity and/or extend the therapeutic window of current therapeutics. TandAbs and Trispecific Abs are a new generation of proprietary, tumor-cell engaging antibodies with a tetravalent architecture characterized by four binding domains. These tetravalent molecules bind to tumor and immune cells with high affinity. Although generation of such complex antibodies is very challenging, Affimed has succeeded in producing them economically and at high quality.
Leveraging this expertise, Affimed has implemented three platform technologies:
- Bispecific TandAbs engaging NK-cells (via CD16A)
- Bispecific TandAbs engaging T-cells (via CD3)
- Trispecific Abs engaging either NK- or T-cells
Affimed's TandAbs have already demonstrated promising signs of therapeutic activity in patients and Affimed has established robust and efficient production processes for these highly stable molecules in mammalian cell systems. Affimed's Trispecific Abs, which target two distinct tumor epitopes and engage T- or NK-cells to lyse the tumor cells that express both targets, are validated preclinically.
About Affimed N.V.
Affimed is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering and developing highly targeted cancer immunotherapies. Affimed's product candidates are being developed in the field of immuno-oncology, which represents an innovative approach to cancer treatment that seeks to harness the body's own immune defenses to fight tumor cells. The most potent cells of the human defense arsenal are types of white blood cells called Natural Killer cells, or NK-cells, and T-cells. Affimed's proprietary, next-generation bispecific antibodies, called TandAbs for their tandem antibody structure, are designed to direct and establish a bridge between either NK-cells or T-cells and cancer cells, triggering a signal cascade that leads to the destruction of cancer cells. Affimed has focused its research and development efforts on three proprietary TandAb programs for which it retains global commercial rights. For more information, please visit www.affimed.com.
This press release contains forward-looking statements. All statements other than statements of historical fact are forward-looking statements, which are often indicated by terms such as "anticipate," "believe," "could," "estimate," "expect," "goal," "intend," "look forward to", "may," "plan," "potential," "predict," "project," "should," "will," "would" and similar expressions. Forward-looking statements are based on management's beliefs and assumptions and on information available to management only as of the date of this press release. These forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements regarding the risk of cessation or delay of any of the ongoing or planned clinical studies and/or development of our product candidates. Our actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements for many reasons, including, without limitation, risks associated with our clinical development activities, regulatory oversight, product commercialization, intellectual property claims, and the risks, uncertainties and other factors described under the heading "Risk Factors" in Affimed's prospectus dated September 12, 2014 filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Given these risks, uncertainties and other factors, you should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, and we assume no obligation to update these forward-looking statements, even if new information becomes available in the future.
Adi Hoess, CEO
Phone: +49 6221 65307-0
Anca Alexandru or Gretchen Schweitzer
MacDougall Biomedical Communications
Phone: +49 89 2424 3494 or
+49 163 613 3359