Another monoclonal antibody company joins the Babraham Research Campus
Kymab, a human monoclonal antibody biopharmaceutical company, has selected the Babraham Research Campus to build its research and business operations. The company recently announced a £20 million Series A equity financing from the Wellcome Trust investment division. This is the fourth leading edge monoclonal antibody company to have recently established itself at the Babraham Research Campus. Bicycle Therapeutics, a spin-out from the MRC-LMB, and Crescendo Biologics, based on Babraham’s pioneering antibody technology, decided to base themselves in Babraham’s Bioincubator earlier this year.
Recombinant Antibody Technologies, another company currently working with BBT, will also establish a facility at the campus when the new Bioincubator building, Maia, is opened later this year. This cluster of commercial excellence in antibody technology, alongside the Babraham Institute’s world-renowned expertise in monoclonal antibody development, underscores the campus’ central position supporting innovation this sector; the global monoclonal antibody market (mAbs) for therapeutic use is currently valued at around $40 billion.
Derek Jones, Chief Executive of BBT said, “We are delighted to welcome Kymab to the campus. Some of the most exciting new generation antibody companies anywhere in Europe are now based at Babraham. The Cambridge area is a world-class centre of excellence in monoclonal antibody research, and the more that emerging antibody technologies cluster together, the greater the potential impact on both our economy and our future health.”
Andrew Sandham, Chairman & CEO of Kymab, said, “We evaluated many locations in the Cambridge area to found our business. We chose the Babraham Research Campus because of the high quality of research laboratories, its proximity to academic centres of excellence and its flexibility in providing the capacity and services we will need as we expand our R&D operations.”
The Babraham Institute has been involved with monoclonal antibodies since the earliest days of the technology. Babraham scientists Jonathan Howard and Geoff Butcher collaborated closely with César Milstein’s group to produce what were described at the time as “the first useful monoclonal antibodies”. Later innovative work by Marianne Brüggemann used transgenic methods to manipulate human antibody genes, which has led to exciting new approaches for the production of human antibodies for therapeutic use.
In addition to the support provided to these new companies, Babraham Bioscience Technologies also draws upon the Institute’s capability to produce antibody products for both research and commercial organisations through the Technology Development Laboratory. Kymab, a spin-out biopharmaceutical company from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, was founded by Professor Allan Bradley, FRS, Director Emeritus of The Sanger Institute and world leader in genome engineering using embryonic stem cells. Based on Professor Bradley’s pioneering research and drawing upon the expertise of the Sanger Institute, the company will use its proprietary genomically-engineered mouse, the Kymouse™, to develop optimised monoclonal antibody biopharmaceuticals to treat select diseases with high unmet medical need.
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Notes to Editors:
About the Babraham Institute:
The Babraham Institute undertakes world-class life sciences research to generate new knowledge of biological mechanisms underpinning ageing, development and the maintenance of health. Our research focuses on cellular signalling, gene regulation and the impact of epigenetic regulation at different stages of life. By determining how the body reacts to dietary and environmental stimuli and manages microbial and viral interactions, we aim to improve wellbeing and support healthier ageing. The Institute is strategically funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), part of UK Research and Innovation, through an Institute Core Capability Grant and also receives funding from other UK research councils, charitable foundations, the EU and medical charities.
The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) is the UK funding agency for research in the life sciences. Sponsored by Government, BBSRC annually invests around £450 million in a wide range of research that makes a significant contribution to the quality of life for UK citizens and supports a number of important industrial stakeholders including the agriculture, food, chemical, health and well-being and pharmaceutical sectors. BBSRC carries out its mission by funding internationally competitive research, providing training in the biosciences, fostering opportunities for knowledge transfer and innovation and promoting interaction with the public and other stakeholders on issues of scientific interest in universities, centres and institutes.
Kymab was founded in 2009 based on research in the field of human immunology and mouse biology at The Sanger Institute in the laboratory of Professor Allan Bradley. The company is using embryonic stem cell technology to develop its Kymouse™ platform, which encompasses the entire diversity of the B lymphocyte component of the human immune system, and has the potential for expansion of diversity beyond normal human immune response.
The Kymouse™ will be used by Kymab for the discovery, development and commercialisation of antibody-based medicines. These new drugs will include best-in-class antibodies directed against clinically precedented drug targets and first-in-class drugs against novel targets. The platform will also be accessible through strategic alliances with pharmaceutical companies and academic institutions.
The Wellcome Trust is a global charity dedicated to achieving extraordinary improvements in human and animal health. It supports the brightest minds in biomedical research and the medical humanities. Its breadth of support includes public engagement, education and the application of research to improve health. The Wellcome Trust is independent of both political and commercial interests.
The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute is a charitably funded genomic research centre located near Cambridge, UK. It is a leader in the Human Genome Project, and is now focused on understanding the role of genetics in health and disease. The Institute aims to provide results that can be translated into diagnostics, treatments or therapies that reduce global health burdens.