Henning Afflerbach, of Scil Proteins explains the benefits of their Affilin® therapeutics




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Video title: Henning Afflerbach, of Scil Proteins explains the benefits of their Affilin® therapeutics
Released on: April 28, 2011. © PharmaTelevision Ltd
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In this episode of PharmaTelevision News Review, Fintan Walton talks to Henning Afflerbach, Chief Business Officer at Scil Proteins
Affilin platform: Proprietory Drug Discovery platform
Fintan Walton:
Hello and welcome to PharmaTelevision News Review here at BIO-Europe in Milan, spring 2011. On this show I have Henning Afflerbach, who is Chief Business Officer at a company called Scil Proteins, welcome to the show.
Henning Afflerbach:
Good morning.
Fintan Walton:
Scil Proteins is a German company its origins go back just over 10 years, tell us first of all the origins of the company itself, how was it founded?
Henning Afflerbach:
It was founded in 1999 our investors are the former owners of Boehringer Mannheim they started a family office which is the BioNet Venture and they gave long-term commitment to fund the Scil company in Halle.
Fintan Walton:
Right, so the Scil there is a number of Scil companies you are Chief Business Officer of a company called Scil Proteins very specific?
Henning Afflerbach:
Very specific, located in Halle and there are other Scil companies around, we have Scil Technology, and Scil Animal Healthcare, Scil Proteins in Halle here we have two business units Scil Proteins production focusing on CMO business where we manufacture proteins on behalf of our customers and for our own purposes. And on the other hand we have Scil Proteins here we have a pharma business based on our proprietary drug discovery platform that we call the Affilin platform.
Fintan Walton:
Okay, so tell us a bit about the Affilin platform, because it's obviously quite unique and how is it differentiated from other similar platforms?
Henning Afflerbach:
First of all Affilin therapeutics are not antibodies, they share with antibodies that they bind proteins with high specificity and high affinity all the rest is different. What is different is Affilin therapeutics are small proteins and as small proteins they can penetrate deep into the tissue they are very stable, pH stable, temperature stable and they even resist degradation in the intestine where other proteins get degraded rapidly. Affilin therapeutics are safe we have done the number of CMC studies without any issue wonderful biodistribution patrons, good bioavailability, no toxicity and no immunogenicity. They are fully human the back bone of our Affilin therapeutics is a natural serum protein called Ubiquitin and this one is well known to the immune system and as such our compounds are non-immunogenic, further more they are conserved 100% conserved through the animal kingdom which means that we don't need any surrogate during the preclinical development from rodents, to dogs, to monkeys and finally into human patients. Last but not least our compounds are engineerable which means that we can add effective functions wherever that is needed.
Fintan Walton:
So presumably when you identify a particular target that you want to use for a therapeutic application you screen for a specific binding Affilin, is that correct?
Henning Afflerbach:
That is true, that is exactly what we are doing and first we have to identify targets, however I have to say that Scil Proteins is not a target identification company, we focus on our drug discovery which means that we take clinically validated targets and then we screen our libraries for those Affilin compounds which bind with high affinity and high specificity those disease related targets.
Deal and Partnership strategy
Fintan Walton:
Right, and you are here obviously at BIO-Europe on one of the spring events, you are here presumably to look for other pharmaceutical companies who may be interested in exploiting your technology?
Henning Afflerbach:
That is our focus exactly, we have on the one hand a proprietary pipeline however we would like to do the preclinical development until the clinics by ourselves. On the other hand we would like to partner our technology with the pharmaceutical and biotech companies in technology access partnerships which means that the partner brings the target we screen our libraries for the compound which is specific and binds with high affinity and then we pass it on to our partner for his validation and together with an option to further develop or to license the compound that is the focus here.
Fintan Walton:
Right, and what sort of companies have already looked at your technology?
Henning Afflerbach:
Pharmaceutical companies, biotech companies all of them having the need to identify innovative binders against their disease related targets those targets are either clinically validated or innovative targets or our partners need IP that we can offer based on our strong IP position.
Fintan Walton:
And is there any deals out there in the public domain that you can mention of?
Henning Afflerbach:
We have one deal, we partnered our platform to one undisclosed company, the program is ready to go into the preclinical development in a couple of months based on successful results, we will publish this partnership together with our partner.
Fintan Walton:
Okay, right so it's still in the early stages?
Henning Afflerbach:
It is, yes.
Scil Proteins's expertise and strengths as a CMO
Fintan Walton:
Obviously yes. Now you've mentioned also that you're a CMO a Contract Manufacturing Organization again what is it that you have that's unique? Why should a company consider talking to Scil Proteins about manufacturing their proteins?
Henning Afflerbach:
That's a good question. We have the strong expertise in the expression of proteins in E. coli in doing the process development which is necessary in order to manufacture those proteins in the GMP environment and we have a special focus on very complex proteins where you need to refold them in order to have proteins which have their biological function.
Fintan Walton:
Right, so is that proprietary to you that technology?
Henning Afflerbach:
It is not our it is not IP, but it is our specific knowledge and expertise that we have established over the last 10-years.
Fintan Walton:
Okay. So the CMO business has been going for 10-years so you've got a lot of experience in that area?
Henning Afflerbach:
We started with one GMP protein expression and process development in 2005 we decided to build on that expertise and we constructed a GMP facility which is now up and running and currently we have one marketed it's product in our facilities.
Business model
Fintan Walton:
Right, so listening to what you've said about Scil Proteins, Scil Proteins has a business model which offers services back to the pharmaceutical industry through its contract manufacturing it provides a service in the terms of giving companies access to its platform technologies and you develop your own products, so going forward is that business model likely to change?
Henning Afflerbach:
We are strong believers in that integrated business concept, because we are convinced that we can add significant value to all products that we provide to our partners if they are not only efficacious but developable and manufacturable as well and that is the reason that we established and that we follow that integrated business model.
Funding and lead programs
Fintan Walton:
Okay, and the other thing that's happened recently is you've raised 24 million euros from BioNet Ventures the original backer of Scil Proteins, what was the purpose of that 24 million? What you gonna do with it?
Henning Afflerbach:
We are now in a critical stage of our company, we have two lead programs in the preclinics in the area of cancer we would like to focus on cancer , one program in the area of radio imaging, the other is a targeted tumor therapy approach and we ask our investors to support our efforts in order to bring those compounds into the clinics and to keep the control over the next following development steps, that is the reason that they financed us with 24 million euros, a big portion of that money will be taken for the preclinical and the Phase I development, the next the last the resting part is for the further validation of our technology.
Future plans
Fintan Walton:
Okay, and again looking at your business is your business a type of business that would go forward and buy other companies, acquire other companies are you acquisitive, are you looking to build your organization beyond just organic growth?
Henning Afflerbach:
Our focus will be to organically grow further, we have now a bit more than 110 employees. We focus on our expertise which is already very complex which is the service business in CMO, which is service and technology access partnerships and which is the licensing business, if there is any opportunistic technology available which really helps to bring us further on that path we will consider it, but it is currently definitely not a focus.
Fintan Walton:
Okay, so lets look at the company going forward over the next 5 to 10-years Henning, what sort of company can we expect Scil Proteins to be like say in a five-years time?
Henning Afflerbach:
We would like to continue our organic growth, we would like to further fill our pipeline with innovative Affilin compounds. We would like to achieve Proof of Concept in human patients and we would like to establish technology partnerships for our Affilin platform and we would like to consolidate and expand our CMO business that is our I would say ambitious plan for the next five-years.
Fintan Walton:
Henning Afflerbach, thank you very much indeed for coming on the show.
Henning Afflerbach:
Thank you for being here.
Fintan Walton
Dr Fintan Walton is the Founder and CEO of PharmaVentures . After completing his doctoral research on the genetics of cell proliferation at the University of Michigan(US)and Trinity College (Dublin, Ireland), Dr Walton gained broad commercial experience in biotechnology in management positions at Bass and Celltech plc (1982-1992).
Henning Afflerbach
Global Head Partnering
Henning Afflerbach , joined Scil Proteins as CBO in 2009. Before that time he has been holding different management positions within the biotechnology industry for more than 10 years. He was in charge of the business development of the companies Peptor GmbH/Ltd (Rehovot/Erkrath), Develogen (Gottingen), and DIREVO Biotech (Cologne).
PharmaVentures
PharmaVentures is a corporate finance and transactions advisory firm that has served hundreds of clients worldwide in relation to their strategic deal making in the pharmaceutical, life science and healthcare sectors. Our key offerings include: Transactions / deal negotiations; Product / technology valuations; Deal term advice; Due diligence & expert reports; Strategy formulation; Alliance management; and Expert opinion for litigation/arbitration cases. PharmaVentures provides the global expertise to ensure our clients generate the highest possible return on investment from all their deal making activities. We have experience of all therapeutic areas and can offer advice on both product and technology commercialisation.
Scil Proteins
Scil Proteins is a biopharmaceutical company discovering and developing Affilin molecules and working with industry partners in the development and manufacture of protein therapeutics and diagnostics. Affilin molecules are therapeutics and diagnostics based on a scaffold derived from the human protein Ubiquitin to form highly stable molecules with strong binding specificity and low immunogenicity. Scil Proteins's discovery platform is a fully patent protected screening technology for the identification of target-specific Affilin molecules using advanced selection systems. Scil Proteins has generated a pipeline of Affilin therapeutics targeting cancer and other therapeutic areas. It also offers the technology to the industry for collaborative discovery and development partnerships. With a longstanding expertise in protein production and development, Scil Proteins also offers GMP contract biomanufacturing and process development to biotech and pharma companies. Scil Proteins is a well-established private company located in Halle, Germany.