GHENT, Belgium and TORONTO, Canada, September 1, 2023 – AntoXa Corporation, a Canadian biopharmaceutical company developing medical countermeasures against biological and chemical agents that might be used in terrorist attacks, and SwiftPharma, a leading innovator in the research & development of recombinant proteins derived from a proprietary plant-based production system, today announced an exclusive collaboration agreement to support the development and commercialization of a plant-made monoclonal antibody (mAb) against ricin exposure.
Ricin, a naturally occurring protein from the castor-bean plant, Ricinus communis, is extremely toxic to humans when inhaled or injected. It is listed as a Category B bioterrorism agent and a Schedule number 1 chemical warfare agent by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention due to its ease of production, worldwide availability, relative stability and extreme lethality. There is currently no approved antidote against ricin poisoning. It acts very quickly and leaves a short window for administering therapeutic antibodies. AntoXa Corporation, a wholly-owned subsidiary of PlantForm Corporation, has a license for the development of the mAb, termed PhD9, in plant-based production systems from Defence Research & Development Canada (DRDC), an Agency of the Canadian Department of National Defence. AntoXa Corporation will partner with SwiftPharma to secure the required US$15 million financing to complete the mAb's development. The strategic collaboration aims to pool their resources and expertise to accelerate the advancement of this critical medical innovation.
The PhD9 antibody drug candidate prevents ricin from penetrating cells. DRDC conducted in vitro and in vivo studies that found the plant-made version of the antibody showed therapeutic efficacy against ricin intoxication. “We anticipate market entry for the PhD9 anti-ricin antibody within two to three years, a timeline that is dependent on raising the necessary funds for scale up and other activities necessary to obtain regulatory approvals,” said Ashley Meyers, President and Chief Operating Officer at AntoXa Corporation.
Next steps for the commercialization of PhD9 are transitioning to large-scale GMP manufacturing, product characterization, animal safety and efficacy studies, and a Phase 1 human clinical trial. Medical countermeasures do not require Phase 2 or Phase 3 human efficacy trials, therefore the path to regulatory approval is shorter than for other pharmaceuticals.
"This strategic collaboration marks a significant milestone in our mission to develop advanced therapeutics for critical health challenges. The partnership with SwiftPharma will not only provide the necessary financial support to expedite the development of the mAb but also enables us to efficiently bring this potentially life-saving solution to a global level," said Dr. Don Stewart, the CEO of AntoXa Corporation.
Upon successful procurement of the financing, AntoXa Corporation will transfer the mAb manufacturing knowhow to SwiftPharma. This transfer will be accompanied by exclusive rights granted to SwiftPharma BV to manufacture, obtain regulatory approvals, promote, market, distribute, and sell the mAb within Europe, the Middle East and Africa ( EMEA) through an Exclusive Manufacturing and Distribution Agreement.
"We live in a world where the threat of biological attacks looms ever-present. The collaboration between AntoXa Corporation and SwiftPharma to further develop this vital antidote is a significant step towards bolstering our preparedness against such threats in the EMEA region and on a global level. This development holds the potential to not only save lives but also ensure our ability to respond effectively to unforeseen challenges. By joining forces, we are reinforcing our commitment to safeguarding public health and security," Jeroen Hofenk, SwiftPharma’s founder and Chief Science Officer said.
For further information, please contact:
SwiftPharma Media Contact
Programme and Communication Manager
AntoXa Media Contact
Stacey Curry Gunn
Director of Communications
SwiftPharma is a Belgium-based privately held biotechnology company dedicated to developing next generation, animal-free, and affordable recombinant proteins by transforming plants into mini bioreactors. The company is on a mission to bring a paradigm shift to multiple industries by serving as a bridge between high unmet industry needs and the significant advances being made in sustainable biomanufacturing. For more information, visit www.swiftpharma.eu.
About AntoXa Corporation
AntoXa Corporation is a Canadian biopharmaceutical company committed to producing high-value biopharmaceuticals to meet demand for safe, effective medical countermeasures against weaponized chemical and biological agents as well as naturally occurring outbreaks of infectious disease. Our goal is to save lives by protecting military personnel and civilians from emerging global threats to national security and public health. A wholly-owned subsidiary of PlantForm Corporation, AntoXa holds an exclusive licence to the vivoXPRESS® biopharmaceutical manufacturing platform to produce countermeasures for ricin, sarin, soman and chlorine exposure, as well as other biodefense therapeutics. The vivoXPRESS® plant-based system makes it easier, faster and less expensive to produce high-quality biologic drugs for novel indications and new markets. Learn more at www.antoxacorp.com.