News

ArGEN-X identifies potent antibody antagonists against complex chonic pain target Nav1.7

Date: 12/09/2013

12 September 2013, Breda, the Netherlands and Ghent, Belgium – arGEN-X announces it has successfully generated potent antibody antagonists of Nav1.7, using its proprietary SIMPLE Antibody™ technology.

Nav1.7 has been thoroughly validated as a therapeutic target in chronic pain, yet no antibody-based antagonists have been developed to date. Drugs targeting ion channels such as Nav1.7 require exquisite target selectivity and specificity to avoid unwanted side effects, which makes antibodies a preferred and highly desirable class of drug.

Using the SIMPLE Antibody™ platform, arGEN-X scientists have isolated a diverse panel of human Nav1.7-specific antibodies that possess such selectivity and lack cross-reactivity with related Nav family members. Several antibody candidates tested in in vitro electrophysiology assays have been shown to potently antagonize the function of the channel. Further specificity analysis reveals a subset of functional antibody clones capable of recognizing the rodent ortholog of the target, enabling in vivo pharmacology studies.

arGEN-X’s Nav1.7 research program has been supported by a grant of €1.3 million awarded by the Institute for the Promotion of Innovation by Science and Technology in Flanders (IWT), specifically to enable arGEN-X to leverage SIMPLE Antibody™ into challenging disease targets.

“This is a very important antibody discovery success for arGEN-X” said Hans de Haard, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer of arGEN-X. “By delivering potent antagonists of a target as complex as Nav1.7, SIMPLE Antibody™ has exceeded all our expectations. Once again, our technology platform has enabled us to generate novel antibody leads against a complex and high value target, confirming its huge potential in the dynamic therapeutic antibody space. We are eager to broaden this campaign in partnership now and progress our most promising leads into development”.

Professor de Haard will present the Nav1.7 program for the first time in public forum in an arGEN-X-sponsored platform presentation at the 11th Annual ‘Discovery on Target’ conference, Boston, MA, USA (September 24-26, 2013). The presentation will showcase the attributes of SIMPLE Antibody™ in addressing the most challenging, high value targets in disease.