** Why AGONIST Antibodies ?
In the last 20 years antibody based therapeutics have emerged as a major class of safe and very effective drugs in major disease areas such as oncology and inflammatory/autoimmune disease. Despite the relative inconvenience (vs. orally active self-adminisered pills) of requiring doctors office injections or infusions, the long-half life of antibody drugs, their excellent safety/efficacy profile and better compliance issues (relative to daily doses of small molecule drugs) has driven enormous growth in this therapeutic class. To date, however, all clinically approved antibody therapeutics exert their effect by blocking or neutralizing biochemical signaling between ligands or receptors or by binding to and neutralizing pathogens.
While long recognized that select antibody molecules may also function to activate rather than block biochemical pathways, finding such rare agonist antibodies has proven difficult for many types of cell surface receptors. As demonstrated in several key peer-reviewed publications, the recently developed Zebra screening platform opens up a novel biological function- based approach to screening very large combinatorial antibody or other peptidic libraries for potent and highly selective agonists.
Zebra believes that there is an enormous opportunity to develop AGONIST antibodies as a next generation of drugs for both well validated targets where an ideal drugs has yet to emerge or for novel targets such as very difficult to drug targets such as receptors of the GPCR class.
Just as we all seem to know that no two snow flakes have the same crystal structure, extensive studies have shown that no two Zebra's have an identical stripe pattern. Hence our name Zebra Biologics.
Drug discovery is all about diversity of chemical space and efficient ways to find rare events - high affinity binding of a novel small molecule, peptide or antibody to a drug target. The combined small molecule libraries of all major pharmaceutical companies are in the range of 50-100 million compounds. The repertoire of antibodies in the standard humanized mouse widely used as a cumbersome in vivo tool for selecting novel antibody candidates for drug development is perhaps 100-500 million. A good combinatorial human antibody library boasts 100 billion unique sequences and has the advantage of being exploitable in a test tube for drug discovery
Our singular scientific and clinical goal at Zebra:
More effective and more efficient utilization of the unparalleled diversity of chemical space locked in combinatorial libraries of human antibody genes to generate safe and efficacious medicines for diseases that have remained intractable or hard to treat with current small molecule or biologic drugs.
We are achieving this goal by exploiting in a new platform the diversity of the 100 billion+ members of an antibody library with a novel proprietary
screening technology that allows new biologic drugs
- AGONISTS or ANTAGONISTS - to be selected directly
for FUNCTION in human cell based assays.