Ablynx recently announced its success in opposing the 2010 appeal lodged by Domantis, a former privately-owned British biotech company now owned by GlaxoSmithKline. Domantis submitted an appeal to the Opposition Division of the European Patent Office regarding its decision to revoke the company’s European Patent 1 517 921. The Board of Appeals pushed through with its ruling to nullify the company’s patent, without chance of further appeals.
Domantis’ European Patent 1 517 921 covers a defined technique for the half-life extension of immunoglobulin single variable domains. Since the nullification of the patent has been finalized, Ablynx and partners are free to apply this “half-life extension techniques in their internal and partnered programmes, as Domantis has no granted patent claims that could possibly be invoked against the use of these techniques in Europe,” as explained in the press release.
Ablynx, is committed to developing Nanobodies® – a therapeutic supported on single-domain antibody fragments that combine small-molecule drugs with the benefits of traditional antibody drugs. The company is focused on creating and advancing medicines that can address the largely unmet clinical needs of some of today’s most serious diseases. Today, Ablynx is affiliated with more than thirty partnered and proprietary programmes in the fields of haematology, inflammation, respiratory diseases and oncology. The Company, whose headquarters are in Ghent, Belgium closely collaborates with AbbVie, Merck &Co, Boehringer Ingelheim, Novartis and Merck Serono.
Ablynx’s CEO, Edwin Moses, commented: “This is the result that we have always anticipated. One of the key features of our Nanobody® technology is the possibility for modular half-life extension to achieve the desired properties, such as the use in chronic versus acute indications. Today, we have already achieved two clinical proof-of-concepts in patients with rheumatoid arthritis with two Nanobodies that incorporate this half-life extension technology. From all the evidence available to us, our half-life extension technology, which is based on a serum-albumin binding Nanobody, outperforms that of GSK/Domantis. We are pleased that the Board of Appeal has now rejected attempts by Domantis to claim our proprietary techniques in their patents.”
In other news on rheumatoid arthritis research, a team of researchers at the University of Oxford found an increase in citrullinated proteins in COPD, suggesting that citrullination in the lungs of smokers is mainly due to inflammation. However, besides the lungs, the researchers also found citrullination of vimentin in other organ tissues, thus suggesting that the relationship between smoking and autoimmunity in Rheumatoid Arthritis is of a complex nature.