OBodies publishes proof-of-concept data for its platform technology

Hamilton, New Zealand, 17 Feb, 2014 - Scientists at OBodies, the University of Waikato and Massey University recently published important proof-of-concept data demonstrating the potential of OBodies as a new platform technology for the development of specific binding reagents.

The article, published on 20 January 2014 in the international peer-reviewed open-access journal PLoS ONE, was the product of a collaboration between the labs of Professor Vic Arcus at the University of Waikato, Dr Jasna Rakonjack at Massey University and Dr Mark Liddament at OBodies. The joint project team engineered high-affinity OBodies to a model target protein, following the process in atomic detail by X-ray crystallography.

Commenting on the news, Dr Mark Liddament, the Principal Scientist at OBodies said: “This publication represents both a major achievement for the joint project team, and a very important milestone in the development of our proprietary technology. It gives us important validation from our scientific peers and a pathway towards unique products.”

The full article can be downloaded here.

Steemson JD, Baake M, Rakonjac J, Arcus VL, Liddament MT (2014) Tracking Molecular Recognition at the Atomic Level with a New Protein Scaffold Based on the OB-Fold. PLoS ONE 9(1): e86050. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0086050

OBodies SAB Member Receives Top Science Honours

The Royal Society of New Zealand hosted The New Zealand Research Honours Dinner on Wednesday the 21st November in Auckland. The Research Honours Dinner is an annual awards evening celebrating top New Zealand researchers.

Professor Margaret Brimble from the University of Auckland School of Chemistry was honoured by receiving not one but three medal at the annual Research Honours Dinner. Prof Brimble is a world leading researcher in synthetic organic chemistry with a specific focus in the design of synthetic analogues of naturally occurring molecules produced by the brain in response to injury. Her most recent work has focused on developing drugs to prevent damage in traumatic brain injury, funded by the US army.

Prof Brimble was awarded the highest honour in science, the Rutherford Medal, for exceptional contributions to the advancement and promotion of public awareness, knowledge and understanding in addition to eminent research or technological practice.

The recognition of Prof Brimble’s work did not end there. She also received the MacDiarmid Medal for outstanding scientific research that could have large human benefit and the Hector Medal for excellence in chemical sciences.

OBodies announces science advisory board and vision for future developments

Hamilton, New Zealand, 23 May, 2012 - Hamilton-based biotechnology company OBodies Limited, developers of a novel class of antibody-like biopharmaceuticals, today announced details of the newly formed Science Advisory Board and vision for future developments. Chairman, Emeritus Professor Dick Bellamy, is joined on the Board by Professor Margaret Brimble, Dr Peter Senter, Dr Mark Baker, Dr Wayne Patrick and Peter Bradley.

Neville Jordan, Chairman of OBodies says, “OBodies is working in one of the fastest growing market segments in biotechnology alongside antibodies. We’re very fortunate to have attracted leading scientists from New Zealand and overseas to the OBodies Science Advisory Board. It’s a defining milestone in the company’s development.”

He says OBodies is targeting the global therapeutic and diagnostic market estimated to be worth around US$100 billion. “The world class science knowledge, expertise and networks the new advisory board will bring to bear will be of significant value as the company grows.”

Emeritus Professor Dick Bellamy is a virologist and molecular cell biologist. Recently retired as Dean of Science at the University of Auckland, his research focus was double-stranded RNA viruses. He is a Fellow of the Academy of the Royal Society of New Zealand and a Director of Auckland UniServices and subsidiary DNA Diagnostics which he co-founded.

Professor Margaret Brimble is the Chair of Organic and Medicinal Chemistry at The University of Auckland. Her research focus is the synthesis of bioactive natural products as novel anticancer, antibacterial and antiviral agents, treatments for neurodegenerative disorders, and components for melanoma vaccines. She is chair of the Rutherford Foundation and a member of the Marsden Fund Council and a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

Dr Peter Senter is Vice President, Chemistry at Seattle Genetics where he leads their research into antibody-drug conjugate technologies. He is an Affiliate Professor of Bioengineering at the University of Washington and Senior Editor of Bioconjugate Chemistry.

Dr Mark Baker, a clinical pharmacologist, is an Associate Director, Translational Medicine and Pharmaceutics at Medicines for Malaria Venture in Geneva, Switzerland. He is currently working on the clinical development of antimalarial therapeutics from candidate selection to Phase IIa trials.

Dr Wayne Patrick is a Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Natural Sciences at Massey University. His insights into problems in the evolution of protein structure, function and engineering and the commercialisation of biological enzymes saw him named NZBio’s 2010 Young Biotechnologist of the Year. He also received a Rutherford Discovery Fellowship in 2011.

Peter Bradley has over 30 years’ experience in biotechnology based businesses and has hands on experience commercialising innovations in diagnostics, medical devices and therapeutics. He runs his own biotechnology commercialisation consultancy serving local and international clients.

At the inaugural OBodies Science Advisory Board meeting the newly formed group focused on the vision for future developments for OBodies high affinity proteins (HAP's) which can be engineered for a wide range of specific therapeutic and diagnostic applications.

Emeritus Professor Dick Bellamy said the OBodies Science Advisory Board believes the technology has latent valuable potential as an emerging technology in therapeutics and diagnostics. “The consensus is that OBodies represent a viable and potentially valuable piece of technology that could be used by biotech and pharmaceutical companies around the world.”

OBodies HAP products, which are patent protected, are derived from naturally occurring proteins and have the potential to enable new ways of treating and diagnosing diseases. They have advantages over antibodies due to their stability, cost, small size and ability to customise binding and specificity.

Professor Bellamy said, “The Science Advisory Board was impressed with the work done thus far by OBodies and we’ve set a clear vision for the technology’s development. We’ve made recommendations on key experiments the company should complete in the short term to validate the value. This will lead to discussions with companies on collaboration for early market access and continued technology development.”

OBodies is a spin-out company formed by WaikatoLink Limited, the technology transfer office of the University of Waikato. The company’s research team is headed up by Dr Mark Liddament, OBodies’ Research Manager and the University of Waikato’s Associate Professor Dr Vic Arcus.

Obodies attracts top talent

Hamilton, New Zealand, 15 November 2010 - Hamilton-based biotechnology company OBodies Limited today announced the appointment of Dr. Mark Liddament to the position of Research Manager. Dr. Liddament, a leading expert in therapeutic protein and antibody engineering, is charged with developing OBodies' unique proprietary technology into products.

OBodies are a novel class of antibody-like biopharmaceuticals, derived from naturally occurring proteins, which can be engineered for a wide range of specific therapeutic and diagnostic applications. OBodies have the potential to enable new ways of treating and diagnosing diseases not possible with antibodies. OBodies is a spin-out company formed by WaikatoLink Limited, the technology transfer office of the University of Waikato.

Mark Stuart, the Chief Executive of WaikatoLink says, "It's a really exciting time for OBodies. Dr. Liddament's expertise in protein engineering and experience in leading biotech and Big Pharma will accelerate the development of a range of next-generation biopharmaceuticals based on OBodies' technology."

Commenting on his appointment, Dr. Liddament added, "OBodies has developed a truly innovative technology with unique potential in the industry. I'm delighted to join the company and excited to be given the opportunity to contribute to the development of this novel class of biopharmaceuticals."

Dr. Liddament is a graduate of The University of Cambridge where he earned his PhD for the development of a novel protein engineering technology. He was most recently Senior Scientist at GlaxoSmithKline, during which time he invented a novel screening technology and optimised their proprietary domain antibody platform. Prior to GSK, he was a Research Scientist at MedImmune (part of the AstraZeneca group; previously called Cambridge Antibody Technology), where he worked in technology development and then drug discovery on numerous therapeutic programs.

OBodies is working in one of the fastest growing market segments in biotechnology. Mark Stuart says, "It is estimated there are over 10,000 separate antibodies used in industrial research, clinical diagnostics and therapeutic applications today. The global therapeutic and diagnostic market targeted by OBodies is worth US$95 billion alone."