Boehringer Ingelheim Acquires Abexxa Biologics, Expanding Cancer Treatment Potential

Boehringer Ingelheim to develop novel cancer therapies by leveraging Abexxa’s breakthrough antibody-based drugs.

In a Sept. 21, 2021, press release, Boehringer Ingelheim announced the acquisition of Abexxa Biologics, a biopharmaceutical company developing precision medicines for cancer treatments. The acquisition will allow Boehringer Ingelheim to access Abexxa’s expertise in targeting cancer-specific proteins that are located inside the cell (rather than those expressed on the cell membrane).

Abexxa’s platform allows the targeting of intracellular antigens of cancer cells by recognizing their presentation on the cell surface by MHC class 1 molecules. While the Abexxa platform addresses the more common HLA-A2 peptide presentation, the company developed specific expertise in the nonclassical MHC class 1 molecule HLA-E, which has the potential to impact a broader set of cancer patients’ antigens, according to the press release.

Additionally, Abexxa developed a T-cell receptor-like antibody that can be used to disrupt the NKG2A:HLA-E immune checkpoint axis in oncology. Abexxa molecules are also being formulated to recruit immune cells targeting HLA-E peptide complexes on tumors.

“The acquisition of Abexxa bolsters our commitment to tumor-antigen discovery and new ways of targeting intracellular antigens. Their cutting-edge know-how and technologies for antigen discovery and novel antibody generation strongly complement the current approaches we have been applying successfully to enable immune-targeting of cancer cells,” said Clive R. Wood, corporate senior vice-president and global head of discovery research, Boehringer Ingelheim, in the press release. “By expanding our portfolio of antibodies binding novel intracellular tumor antigens, we are striving to develop unique and broadly applicable new immunotherapeutic approaches for cancer patients.”

Source: Boehringer Ingelheim