BURLINGAME, Calif., June 27, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Redwood Bioscience, Inc. announced today that it has secured funding from Takeda Ventures, Inc. ("TVI") to further develop the Company's precision protein-chemical engineering platform for drug conjugate optimization. This funding will be applied to advancing Redwood's site specific protein modification technology for enhancing antibody-drug conjugates and peptide therapeutics.
Drug conjugates are emerging as an important class of therapeutics. These "hybrid" drugs combine the binding specificity and half-life advantages of biologic "carriers," with the potency benefits of small molecule and synthetic peptide "cargo." The Company's site specific protein modification technology overcomes the challenges associated with conjugating biologics to synthetic molecules, producing optimally configured, hybrid therapeutics that are homogenous.
Redwood was launched based on pioneering technology called "aldehyde tagging." This technology was developed by Redwood's co-founder and Scientific Advisory Board Chair, Carolyn Bertozzi, Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley, and her research team, including David Rabuka, Ph.D., Company co-founder, President and Chief Scientific Officer. An aldehyde tag functions as a unique chemical site on the surface of a protein that can be selectively modified through aldehyde specific chemistry. The placement and number of these tags in a biomolecule is precisely controllable, enabling conjugation of cargo at specific sites and payload loading. Furthermore, cargo orientation can be optimized for enhanced drug-target interactions, resulting in improved conjugate potency.
"Similar to the advancement of small molecule generation and optimization with combinatorial chemistry and rational drug design, Redwood's technology has the potential to significantly advance the field of conjugate therapeutics," stated David Rabuka, PhD. "By providing control over cargo location, number and orientation on a protein, the Company's technology enables the generation of chemically modified protein libraries for optimal conjugate selection."
"Redwood's aldehyde tagging technology represents a potential breakthrough in the creation of drug conjugates," commented Juan Harrison, Vice President at Takeda Ventures, Inc. "The Company's work suggests that their platform can impact conjugate potency and homogeneity."
"We are pleased that TVI has recognized the potential of Redwood's technology," stated Karen Boezi, Redwood's CEO. "Their investment not only provides capital but access to experienced industry professionals at TVI and in the broader Takeda organization whom have already proven extremely supportive in the Company's development efforts."
About Redwood's Technology
Drug conjugates in development primarily rely on traditional chemical conjugation targeting native protein amino acid side chains. This approach does not provide good control over cargo placement and loading given dependence on a protein's natural amino acid sequence, which limits conjugate optimization. Moreover, native amino acid side chain chemistry is associated with poor reproducibility, resulting in heterogeneous drug mixtures with variable potency and toxicity. Genetic fusion technology also has been employed to create conjugates through the recombinant fusion of therapeutic peptides with protein carriers. This approach can limit conjugate potency given fusion of the peptide payload through its termini, inhibiting payload orientation optimization and loading.
Redwood's technology employs an "all natural" amino acid sequence inserted site specifically into protein DNA. Leveraging a cellular enzymatic reaction, this sequence is converted into an aldehyde tag for subsequent chemical conjugation. Aldehyde tags can be precisely placed in any protein of interest, including mammalian cell produced proteins, with ease and high efficiency. Multiple tags can be used for increasing cargo amount while preserving the modified protein's natural structure and biological activity. In addition, the aldehyde conjugation chemistry employed affords flexibility over cargo orientation and has good reproducibility, resulting in homogenous compounds. Control over cargo placement, number and orientation as well as good conjugation efficiency, enable the creation of combinatorial conjugate libraries for identification of superior antibody-drug conjugates and peptide therapeutics.
About Redwood Bioscience, Inc.
Redwood Bioscience is utilizing precision protein-chemical engineering to optimize conjugate therapeutics. Leveraging libraries of site-specifically modified protein scaffolds, the Company is focused on developing antibody drug conjugates having superior efficacy and safety and peptide-based products with extended drug half-lives and enhanced potency. Redwood is located in Burlingame, CA. For further information, please visit www.redwoodbioscience.com.
About Takeda Ventures, Inc.
Takeda Ventures, Inc. is the corporate venture arm of Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited (TPC) a world-class pharmaceutical company and the largest in Japan. TVI seeks strategic opportunities to complement and extend internal discovery capabilities, and will additionally explore potentially new business avenues for Takeda through external strategic venture activities. TVI's aim is to encourage and support therapeutic innovation in the biopharmaceutical sector, as well as academic centers of excellence, through early stage capital investment and provision of access to the resources of a multinational pharmaceutical company. For further in information, please visit www.takedaventures.com.
SOURCE Redwood Bioscience, Inc.