Lyon, France, April 12, 2021 – Calixar, a biotechnology company with ten years expertise in the isolation of fully native membrane proteins, today announces its €1M ($1.2M) investment in a new pipeline of complex therapeutic targets and native antigens of high relevance for pharmaceutical companies. This strategic investment, supported by Bpifrance investment bank, will enable the company to be the exclusive provider and licensor for pharmaceutical companies, with the best native and functional membrane therapeutic targets (GPCRs, ion channels, transporters, receptors and viral targets). It will also help them to discover the best drugs (small molecules and conformational antibodies) and develop the best vaccines.
Drug development is becoming more costly and uncertain than ever (over $1bn – €0.9bn – in 2020, with a 95% failure rate). Only a few of the drugs authorized each year bring real health benefits. This is despite major scientific advances and ever-increasing investment, with over $150bn (€139bn) invested annually worldwide (source: EvaluatePharma).
Calixar was founded in 2011 with the aim of responding to those industry needs. It has developed its own unique technology, together with a research platform, in order to produce high-quality native membrane therapeutic targets that cover all therapeutic areas.
“Collective studies agree that the pharmaceutical industry needs to optimize its drug development model,” said Emmanuel Dejean, founder and CEO of Calixar. “In Calixar’s view, the problems faced in clinical development are related particularly to the unreliability of the therapeutic targets isolated upstream.”
Membrane therapeutic targets (GPCRs, ion channels, transporters, etc.) are essential as templates in the development of drug candidates, both in small molecule screening and in the manufacture of therapeutic antibodies, or as antigens in the development of new vaccines. There is therefore a direct link between the quality of a therapeutic target and the reliability of the biodrug obtained downstream. Today, nearly all the available targets are obtained via denaturing purification and stabilization procedures, resulting in less than robust drug candidates and vaccines. This also partly explains the clinical phase failures and the poor performance of some drugs on the market.
There are several thousand therapeutic targets in humans, yet only a few of these are currently available to the pharmaceutical industry. To address this unmet medical need and industry gap, Calixar developed a technology enabling the development of very reliable native therapeutic targets that were previously unavailable; in order to improve the success rate of clinical studies and to open up new therapeutic pathways.
Calixar validated its technology with numerous clients and partners, from pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies to public and private research institutes. Its platform has been used to isolate over 100 client’s targets involved in a number of diseases, many of which had previously never been subject to native and functional isolation. The recognized quality of Calixar’s therapeutic targets led US biotech company Regeneron to enter into an initial exclusive licensing agreement with Calixar in 2019, for a major target. This agreement confirmed Calixar’s business strategy, which is now based on licensing out therapeutic targets and developing a catalog of molecules with an estimated value of €92.6M ($100M) to €900M ($1bn).
“We will offer pharma and biotech companies the possibility of saving time and money by entrusting us to develop their future targets,” explained Emmanuel Dejean. “Calixar will invest in 15 highly druggable targets and take on the risks for producing them in a ‘ready-for-drug discovery’ format. Upon validation by our partners, they could have access to exclusive rights on the targets for their applications. The Calixar team will build its contacts with the top 100 pharma/biotech companies to license its pipeline and offer its platform expertise.”
Calixar will be attending the following digital industry events to meet companies who wish to integrate their future targets in its pipeline:
- Redefining Early Stage Investments (RESI) Conference, June 8-10, 2021
- BIO International Convention, June 10–11 and 14-18, 2021
- 9th Antibody Industrial Symposium, June 22-25, 2021
- BIO Asia Taiwan, July 22-25, 2021
Calixar SAS is a biotechnology company based in Lyon, France, founded in 2011 by Emmanuel Dejean and Pierre Falson. The company develops new approaches to isolate full-length and native membrane therapeutic targets with the highest purity levels. The company produces its own pipeline of medically relevant targets and uses its technology platform for other companies that need to identify, extract and purify membrane proteins (GPCRs, ion channels, receptors, transporters and viral targets).
Calixar’s approach provides pharmaceutical companies with the opportunity to work with high-quality and reliable targets or antigens, compatible with all applications and in all areas (human, animal and plant). This includes developing antibodies and/or discovering drug candidates through structure-based drug design (X-ray and cryo-EM) or high-throughput screening assays. The Calixar platform also enables the formulation of new vaccines including against COVID-19.