One of Scotland’s most successful biotech companies, Haptogen, is pioneering new drug discovery techniques using the immune system of sharks after striking a significant deal with the University of Aberdeen.
Haptogen – which will be using shark antibodies to create new therapies for delivering drugs to combat key diseases like cancer – has obtained the licensing rights for the technology that was developed at the University of Aberdeen.The partnership agreement will also generate a brand new revenue stream for the University which will get a share of the royalties and other performance related income. And it consolidates Aberdeen’s position as an international centre for excellence in biologics – one of the fastest growing areas of drug discovery.
Antibodies are disease fighting proteins in the blood created by the immune system which tackle bacteria, viruses and other foreign substances. Shark antibodies are the smallest antibodies found in the animal kingdom. Sharks have been around since before the dinosaurs and this may explain why they have had time to generate such an interesting and potent immune system
The University of Aberdeen has developed an approach that will allow the creation of a massive “library” of shark antibodies constructed from small blood samples taken from a few live sharks. Haptogen has created a technology that can browse this library and locate the antibody most suited for tackling specific diseases.