Our LassoGraft Technology® is characterized by the ability to obtain multiple candidate bio-compounds against a particular target protein in a matter of a few months. By making full use of this feature, various business development strategies are possible. In addition, we will provide products that help to elucidate/confirm the mechanisms underlying diseases in order to support the acceleration of research progress in industry and academia.
Our proprietary LassoGraft Technology® allows us to focus on areas of drug discovery such as rare or hard-to-treat diseases. Not only does our LassoGraft Technology® reduce the cost of development but it also reduces the lengthy time associated with obtaining a hit compound.
As Neobiologics, a next-generation multifunctional biologic product obtained by LassoGraft Technology®, we are advocating partners to start with two basic structures: Addbody® and Mirabody®.
Addbody® is a novel molecule generated by grafting Lasso peptide sequences with strong target-binding affinities to a part of existing antibody.This is particularly useful when you want to add a second or third functionality to an antibody, or other leading candidate compounds already owned by other pharmaceutical companies.
Mirabody® uses only the Fc portion of antibody as its structure, and similarly to Addbody® is generated by grafting Lasso peptide sequences with strong target-binding affinities to the Fc structure. Since our Mirabody® does not require an existing antibody as the base structure, it is particularly useful to start drug development of new targets from the scratch. You can add either multiple of the same Lasso peptide sequence, thereby enhancing the Mirabody’s binding affinity for a specific target, or multiple of different kind of Lasso peptide sequences, thereby providing a multi-targeted a multi-targeted Mirabody®.
In other words, our technology has a strong advantage over conventional antibody-based engineering in developing bispecific and multi specific agents, due to much shorter time frame needed, which is ideal for drug development on new targets.
We started as a company based on the collaborative research between Professor Junichi Takagi of Osaka University’s Institute for Protein Research, and Professor Hiroaki Suga of the University of Tokyo’s department of Chemistry.
The collaborative research between these scientists enabled us to create next-generation multifunctional biopharmaceuticals Neobiologics in a very short time frame. We named it LassoGraft Technology®, as the grafted cyclic peptides mimic a “Lasso” with strong binding affinity.
Taking advantage of Professor Takagi’s extensive knowledge of protein structures, we graft cyclic peptide sequences consisting of only natural amino acids obtained through Professor Suga’s RaPID system into a loop on a protein. Then, we can obtain proprietary proteins with specific binding abilities toward a target protein of choice.
In the first step of LassoGraft Technology®, we search for cyclic peptide sequences, “Lasso peptides”, that specifically bind with high affinity to a target protein. RaPID system technology developed by Professor Hiroaki Suga of the University of Tokyo is used in this step. By doing this, we can quickly obtain information on peptide sequences that specifically bind to targets from a library of more than 1012 peptide sequences.
- λ A key feature of our Lasso peptides is that they consist of 20 natural amino acids (without Methionine). As a result, the proteins (Addbody® and Mirabody® ) grafted with Lasso peptides can be produced easily using conventional recombinant DNA technology.
- λ Another important feature is that since the Lasso peptides consist of a linear stretch of only 10~20 amino acids, they can be easily grafted into any desired protein molecule.
In the second step of LassoGraft Technology®, we graft the Lasso peptide(s) (either singly or multiply) into the sequence of any protein at a desired site. The Lasso peptides can be grafted while retaining their binding affinity toward the target. For example, by grafting a Lasso peptide onto an existing antibody, we can instantly obtain an antibody that possesses not only its original target recognition but also additional binding ability (Addbody®). In addition to this, it is possible to create a Mirabody® that bears Lasso peptides on the surface of the Fc-only protein.
To summarize the above features of our LassoGraft Technology®: (1) We are able to create a product in a short time (with an average time of 3 to 4 months) (2) Multiple Lasso peptides with either the same or different sequence can be grafted onto our scaffold protein (3) Our products look much like native proteins (i.e., IgG or Fc) except for the insertion of Lasso peptides, and are much less likely to have issues such as production difficulties and antigenicity often associated with highly engineered artificial protein biologics.
Although we have started our business development from two basic structures, Addbody® and Mirabody®, this technology can be applied to various proteins other than antibodies (enzymes, cytokines, or viruses). We are continuing basic research to expand our product range in the future.
Our company entered into an exclusive licensing agreement with applicants’ the University of Tokyo and Osaka University at the end of August 2018 for two patent applications that are the basic technologies of this LassoGraft Technology®. Subsequently, our company has a sublicense agreement with PeptiDream Inc. (TSE First Section: Securities Code 4587) concerning a part of the patent of the drug discovery platform system: PDPS (Peptide Discovery Platform System) technology.