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CDR-Life Announces the Advancement of Antibody Treatment for Patients with Geographic Atrophy with Development Partner Boehringer Ingelheim

September 8, 2021

Important milestone reached in the development of antibody fragment-based therapeutics for geographic atrophy under collaboration and licensing agreement with Boehringer Ingelheim

Zürich, Switzerland, September 8, 2021 – CDR-Life Inc., today announced that Boehringer Ingelheim has selected an antibody fragment-based therapeutic candidate for advancement to the next phase of development under the existing agreement between the companies for the discovery and development of novel therapies for the treatment of geographic atrophy (GA), triggering an undisclosed milestone payment from Boehringer Ingelheim to CDR-Life. GA is a blinding retinal disease that occurs in patients with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and for which there is no treatment.

“We have had an incredibly productive and seamless research collaboration between Boehringer Ingelheim and CDR-Life, and together taken an important step towards identifying a candidate with the potential to address the unmet medical need posed by this devastating disease,” said Christian Leisner, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer at CDR-Life.

About Boehringer Ingelheim’s and CDR-Life’s Collaboration

Boehringer Ingelheim and CDR-Life entered into a collaboration and licensing agreement to research and develop antibody fragment-based therapeutics for geographic atrophy in May 2020.

Under the terms of the agreement, Boehringer Ingelheim will receive an exclusive, worldwide license to develop certain compounds based onCDR-Life ́stechnology against a specific target and will be responsible for global development and commercialization. CDR-Life will be eligible to receive up to CHF 474.5 million (USD 520 million) in upfront and success-based milestone payments, as well as research funding and royalties on sales.

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CDR-Life Appoints Industry Veteran Björn Peters as Chief Business Officer

June 10, 2021

Newly Created Role Positions CDR-Life to Pursue Additional Partnership Opportunities

ZÜRICH, Switzerland, June 9, 2021 – CDR-Life Inc., a biotherapeutics company developing tumor-specific immunotherapies based on a proprietary antibody platform, today announced the expansion of its leadership team with the appointment of Björn Peters as Chief Business Officer. In this newly created role, Mr. Peters, a highly seasoned biotechnology and pharmaceutical executive, will be primarily responsible for business development and will report directly to Chief Executive Officer, Christian Leisner, Ph.D.

“Björn’s addition to our management team marks an important milestone for CDR-Life as we continue to pursue strategic partnerships for our highly innovative antibody therapies,” stated Dr. Leisner. “Having spent more than two decades focused on business development, strategy and management within the biotechnology and pharmaceutical arenas, Björn’s proven experience and established relationships will be invaluable as we increase our visibility and look to expand opportunities for our tumor-specific T cell engagers.”

Mr. Peters added, “The targeting of intracellular antigens in tumor cells is a very promising approach to achieve better efficacy and safety outcomes and I am honored to join such a team of highly experienced and accomplished antibody specialists. I look forward to collaborating with my colleagues to further develop CDR-Life’s business strategy and to forge critical new partnerships which will help to progress the company’s growing portfolio of novel and promising immunotherapies across a range of indications.”

Prior to joining CDR-Life, Mr. Peters served as head of business development at both Allecra Therapeutics and Zealand Pharma. Earlier in his career, he held positions of increasing responsibility within business development at Shire Pharmaceuticals, Movetis (a spin-off from Johnson & Johnson, subsequently acquired by Shire Pharmaceuticals) and Johnson & Johnson subsidiary, Janssen-Cilag. During his tenure in business development, Mr. Peters has contributed to a successful series of both buy- and sell-side transactions with a total value exceeding $7 billon, including the sale of Movetis to Shire after the company went public on Euronext.

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CDR-Life Expands Board of Directors with Appointment of Dieter Gericke

May 18, 2021

With the appointment of Dieter Gericke, a seasoned attorney and long-time corporate advisor to the life sciences industry will join CDR-Life’s board of directors.

ZURICH, Switzerland, May 18, 2021 – CDR-Life Inc., a biotherapeutics company developing tumor-specific immunotherapies based on a proprietary antibody platform, today announced the appointment of Dieter Gericke, a seasoned attorney and long-time corporate advisor to the life sciences industry, to its board of directors, effective May 17, 2021.

“With a reputation as a trusted counselor to both large and small pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies throughout Europe and globally, Dieter’s decades of relevant experience, including deep transactional expertise, make him a perfect addition to our board,” stated Dominik Escher, Executive Chairman of CDR-Life. “We look forward to leveraging his vast network and knowledge base within the areas of private equity investments, capital markets, mergers and acquisitions (M&A), and corporate governance, as we continue to execute on our strategic plan, including future potential financings and exit options.”  

Mr. Gericke added, “CDR-Life has distinguished itself as a leading biotechnology company, using a novel and proprietary antibody fragment platform technology to develop a pipeline of oncology specific T cell engagers. I am honored to work with the executive team, who have an impressive track record of building companies as well as developing and commercializing new drugs.”

Mr. Gericke is a partner at Homburger AG, where, since 2014, he has served as head of the corporate/M&A practice team, and, since 2010, as head of the China focus group, counseling clients on public and private M&A, shareholder activism, equity capital markets including initial public offerings, private equity, and corporate governance matters, among others. During his tenure at the firm, which he joined in 2000, Mr. Gericke was also co-head of the capital markets team.

Among Mr. Gericke’s most recent assignments are the takeover of Syngenta by ChemChina; the sale of Therachon to Pfizer; the sale of PPF’s shares in NBE-Therapeutics to Boehringer Ingelheim, the IPOs of ADC Therapeutics and Zur Rose Group; and share issuances by Basilea Pharmaceutica, Molecular Partners, Santhera Pharmaceuticals and AC Immune.

During his career, Mr. Gericke has authored various publications and chaired a number of panels, including relating to public and private M&A, securities laws, and corporate governance. He is a member of the Corporate and M&A Committee and member and former vice-chair of the Securities Law Committee of the International Bar Association. Mr. Gericke is also a board member of Gericke Group, a producer of powder-processing equipment and systems for the food, pharmaceutical and chemical industries; and is a former board member of Syngenta AG, a leading agrotechnology group.

Mr. Gericke holds a law degree and doctorate from the University of Zurich and earned an LL.M. from Harvard Law School.

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CDR-Life Presents Results at AACR

April 16, 2021

A powerful discovery platform for the generation of high affinity and specificity TCR-like antibodies for immunotherapies in solid tumor

Abstract: Classical antibody and chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapies to treat cancer are limited to target cell surface proteins, which only constitute about 20-25% of all available tumor antigens. In addition, these surface antigens are typically not restricted to tumor cells. Targeting peptides presented in major histocompatibility complexes (pMHCs) offers great potential to exploit the intracellular reservoir of proteins associated with cancer. Soluble T cell receptor (TCR) proteins have been used to target pMHC-restricted tumor-specific antigens. However, their low affinity and substantial challenges related to stability and production compromise their developability as drugs. We developed a discovery platform for the selection of TCR-like antibodies with high target specificity and affinity. This provides access to the intracellular antigen repertoire analogous to TCRs but with much higher affinity as well as the clinical validation and format versatility of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs). As proof of concept, we used the HLA-A*02:01 (HLA-A2) restricted MAGE-A4 epitope GVYDGREHTV. A broad collection of antibodies was isolated from scFv phage libraries specifically designed to bind pMHC-complexes. Based on initial compound screening with ELISA and sequence analysis, a set of binders was selected for further SPR affinity characterization. Out of 1482 hits, several binders showed KD values in the picomolar range for the MAGE-A4/HLA-A2 complex and no binding against HLA-A2 in complex with unrelated peptides. Additionally, specific binding in a cellular context was verified for selected leads by flow cytometry using T2 cells pulsed with MAGE-A4 peptide while no binding was observed to T2 cells pulsed with control peptides with high similarity to MAGE-A4. The best performers were selected to generate CD3-based bispecific T cell engagers (TCE), for which potent killing was demonstrated in several MAGE-A4/HLA-A2 positive cancer cell lines of different histological origin, including lung cancer, melanoma, bladder cancer and osteosarcoma, as well as in a xenograft mouse model. No off-target activity was observed in MAGE-A4 negative, HLA-A2 positive control cells. Notably, cytotoxicity was significantly potentiated by concomitant blockade of the PD-1/PD-L1 axis supporting the concept of sensitizing solid tumors with TCEs to immune checkpoint inhibitor (ICI) therapy. In summary, we demonstrated the potential of our platform to deliver TCR-like antibodies with high affinity and specificity against intracellular antigens proven by efficient and specific killing of MAGE-A4/HLA-A2 positive cancer cells with bispecific TCEs. For the first time, we showed the synergistic effect of combining pMHC-specific TCEs with ICI treatment corroborating the potential of this treatment modality to overcome major limitations of current cancer immunotherapies.

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Boehringer Ingelheim Collaborates with CDR-Life to Develop Antibody Fragment-based Therapeutics For Geographic Atrophy, a Leading Cause of Blindness Worldwide

May 13, 2020

The collaboration with CDR-Life is the second strategic partnership within a year for Boehringer Ingelheim in retinal diseases, furthering the company’s commitment to develop novel treatments and technologies for patients who have only inadequate treatment options

Together the partners will advance CDR-Life’s preclinical antibody fragments targeting a key pathway in geographic atrophy (GA)

Ingelheim, Germany and Schlieren, Switzerland – 13 May 2020 – Boehringer Ingelheim and CDR-Life today announced they have entered into a collaboration and licensing agreement to research and develop antibody fragment-based therapeutics for geographic atrophy (GA). GA is a progressive, irreversible retinal disease that occurs in patients with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) for which there is no current treatment. Together, with Boehringer Ingelheim’s expertise in the therapeutic development of biologics and CDR-Life’s strong know-how in antibody engineering, the two companies will progress CDR-Life’s preclinical candidate, with the aim to preserve sight for patients with GA.

“Partnering with CDR-Life provides Boehringer Ingelheim with the opportunity to collaborate with a team that has a proven track record developing antibody fragment-based therapeutics for retinal diseases,” said Clive R. Wood, Ph.D., Corporate Senior Vice President and Global Head of Discovery Research at Boehringer Ingelheim. “The prospect of losing one’s sight is frightening. We are committed to transformational therapies that have the potential to succeed in preserving the health and vision of patients with retinal diseases such as geographic atrophy”

Utilizing antibody fragment-based technology, which retains the specificity of an antibody while significantly reducing the size of the molecule, may have significant advantages over traditional large molecule approaches for the treatment of retinal diseases, such as GA. When applied to the eye via intravitreal injection, high affinity antibody fragment therapies have the potential to reach the retinal pigment epithelial cells where degeneration is known to occur. This precise technology may help decrease the cellular stresses caused by AMD and prevent further loss of sight.

“Boehringer Ingelheim is one of the leading research and development companies in the field of biologics,” said Christian Leisner, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer at CDR-Life. “This is an exciting partnership that brings together Boehringer Ingelheim’s development expertise and CDR-Life’s innovative antibody fragments to provide hope for people living with a blinding retinal disease. We look forward to advancing this project towards the clinic together with the Boehringer Ingelheim team.”

Boehringer Ingelheim takes a holistic approach to the development of novel retinal disease therapies, targeting key mechanisms in the pathogenesis of retinal diseases. By leveraging existing expertise in oncology, inflammation, neurodegeneration, fibrosis and cardiometabolic diseases, the company has built a comprehensive portfolio of next generation retinal therapy approaches in various stages of development up to Phase 2 in macular degeneration and diabetic retinal diseases.

CDR-Life´s preclinical program utilizing antibody fragment-based technology complements this growing portfolio, providing an innovative approach to treat GA.

Under the terms of the agreement, Boehringer Ingelheim will receive an exclusive, worldwide license to develop certain compounds based on CDR-Life´s technology against a specific target and will be responsible for global development and commercialization. CDR-Life will be eligible to receive up to CHF 474.5 million in upfront and success-based milestone payments, as well as research funding and royalties on sales.

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CDR-Life moves into larger facilities in the Bio-Technopark, Schlieren

January 30, 2020

ZURICH, Switzerland, January 30, 2020 – CDR-Life inc. has moved into new fully equipped laboratory facilities in Wagistrasse 27, 8952 Schlieren-Zurich. This move positions the company to grow and to advance its promising pipeline of game-changing oncology and ophthalmology therapies into clinical trials over the coming years.

CDR-Life Enters Research Collaboration with University Hospital Zurich

October 28, 2019

Ex vivo studies for the prediction of clinical response in multiple myeloma.

ZURICH, Switzerland, October 28, 2019 – CDR-Life inc. has entered a research collaboration with Prof. Markus G. Manz, MD, Head of Medical Oncology and Hematology at University Hospital and University of Zurich, to further test CDR-Life’s trispecific antibodies on primary cancer patient tissue.

The collaboration will combine strong clinical know-how and patient sample access at the University Hospital with CDR-Life’s deep expertise in developing unconventional antibody- based therapies.

“CDR-Life’s trispecific LocATE antibodies are potentially transformative in the field of immunotherapies,” said Prof. Manz. “We are looking forward to help validate the promise of this novel approach.”

“Patient ex vivo testing has been shown to be highly predictive of clinical outcome” said Leonardo Borras, Chief Science Officer at CDR-Life. “Access to world-class expertise and real patient samples for testing our novel antibodies is very powerful.”

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CDR-Life Presents Results at ASCO

June 3, 2019

Local activator and T cell engager (LocATE) selectively blocks PD-L1 at the cytolytic synapse for deeper responses in multiple myeloma.

Poster Abstract

CDR-Life Enters Research Collaboration with ETH Zürich

May 23, 2018

Ex vivo drug response profiling of novel immunotherapies in patient biopsies.

ZURICH, Switzerland, May 23, 2018 – CDR-Life inc. has entered a research collaboration with Prof. Berend Snijder, ETH Zürich, to study the effect of their novel trispecific T cell engagers on cancer patient samples using pharmacoscopy, a human ex vivodrug screening technology.

The collaboration will use synergies between the modular multispecific immunotherapies from CDR-Life and the pharmacoscopy technology from the Snijder laboratory to explore both the biology that drives immune cell engagement and the principles that guide optimal drug design.

“CDR-Life’s multispecific molecules are ideal together with our pharmacoscopy technology to deduce impactful learnings about the biology of immune cell engagement” said Prof. Snijder.

“Pharmacoscopy has been shown to be highly predictive of clinical outcome,” said Dr. Christian Leisner, chief executive officer of CDR-Life. “This is contrary to many in vitro and in vivo methods and makes it a powerful tool to understand the impact of our trispecific immunotherapies.”

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CDR-Life Announces Formation of Scientific Advisory Board

Inaugural Members Include Leading Ophthalmic Luminaries from the United States and Europe.

ZURICH, Switzerland, May 8, 2017 – CDR-Life Inc., a biotechnology company focused on advancing therapeutic antibody fragments in the areas of ophthalmology and oncology, today announced the formation of a Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) comprised of academic and industry experts in the field of ophthalmology from both the United States and Europe.

The Scientific Advisory Board will serve as a vital strategic resource to the Company to develop novel treatments for ophthalmic diseases. In addition to guiding CDR-Life’s research and development activities, including clinical trial designs, the SAB will also identify new target indications and will evaluate strategic assets that leverage the management’s expertise in therapeutic antibody fragments.

“We are pleased to welcome this diverse group of ophthalmic experts, representing thought leaders from clinical practice and academia, to our newly formed Scientific Advisory Board,” said Dominik Escher, PhD, executive chairman of CDR-Life. “The expertise that they bring to our executive team and Board will prove invaluable as we refine our clinical plan and work to bring novel therapies to patients in need.”

“We believe our approach to developing novel therapeutic antibody fragments holds significant potential in ophthalmology and oncology where unmet medical needs persist,” said Christian Leisner, PhD, chief executive officer of CDR-Life. “We look forward to leveraging the varied experience of our new Scientific Advisory Board as we pursue the efficient development of our proprietary molecules.”

The Advisory Board members include:

Reza Dana, MDDirector at Harvard Medical School, Department of Ophthalmology, Cornea Center of Excellence

Pravin Dugel, MDManaging Partner, Retinal Consultants of Arizona (RCA)

Frank G. Holz, MDChairman and Professor at the Department of Ophthalmology, University of Bonn

Stephan Michels, MDProfessor at the University of Zurich and Vice Chair at City Hospital Triemli, Zurich, Switzerland

Manfred Zierhut, MDProfessor at University Hospital of Tuebingen, Germany

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