The UK’s Cambridge biotech cluster has notched another success story with the news Kymab has completed a successful first round of clinical trials for a new eczema drug the company has been working on. The rising biotech star’s research is cornered upon the so far very successful methodology of using mice that produce human antibodies. The unique colony that has been bred by Kymab has resulted in notable success in first round trials on humans.
The initial testing on mice with the same antibodies found in humans should lead to a much higher probability of the developed drugs subsequently delivering comparable results at the stage of clinical trials on human sufferers of the same conditions. So far, the assumption that testing on mice which produce human antibodies would significantly reduce the variables that could lead to variation in how drugs for the treatment of immune-system related conditions and diseases work on human patients is demonstrating promise.
As hoped, the first round of human clinical trials for Kymab’s eczema drug show the same reduction in skin inflammation as earlier trials on mice did. Second round trials will now go ahead and chief executive Dave Chiswell has the stated ambition for Kymab to be producing at least one new anti-body drug per year. There is confidence that the biotech’s colony of mice will mean this is achievable and treatments for conditions such as arthritis, lupus and multiple sclerosis are earmarked for its pipeline.
Chiswell has pedigree. His previous company, Cambridge Antibody Technology, was sold to Astra Zeneca for $1.3 billion in 2006. Investors also clearly see strong promise in the biotech with a recent funding round successfully closing a $100 million investment involving China’s Shenzhen Hepalink Pharmaceutical. Other investors include the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and renowned fund manager Neil Woodford.
Biotechnology, which employs living organisms, or parts of them, is leading to rapid developments in different sectors, from drugs and therapeutics to environmentally friendly chemicals, materials and fuels. Pharmaceuticals in particular are benefiting from the processes and natural compounds the science is discovering. The UK is becoming a leader in the field with the cluster of companies around the university town of Cambridge proving to be a particular hotbed of research and development.