By adding either alpha-gal or rhamnose sugars to molecules (such as antibodies) that bind to markers of disease on the surface of target cells, Avvinity can teach the immune system (innate and adaptive) to destroy such cells.
Individual anti-sugar antibodies have only low individual affinity for their sugar targets. However, by presenting numerous sugar molecules to the immune system, the overall strength of binding (Avidity) becomes sufficient to trigger an immune response capable of killing the target cells. Importantly, healthy tissues that may bind low levels of the Alphamer, do not elicit the immune response, avoiding concomitant toxicity in the body.
While our Alphamer platform has potential application in treating a wide range of diseases, Avvinity is focused on treating cancers, both solid tumours and also hematological (‘liquid’) tumours. Our lead program is an antibody based Alphamer which recognises a validated cancer target called EGFR, which is elevated in more than half of all tumours. Linking sugars to an anti-EGFR antibody, our lead Alphamer can trigger a robust immune response involving both the adaptive and innate immune systems.