Ebumab seeks to use its bispecific antibody AMT technology in combination with the body’s immune system to fight cancers. We chatted with Johan Faber, CEO of Ebumab, to get more acquainted with the company’s mission and what the company aims to achieve by participating in BII’s Venture Lab program.
What is the key driver for Ebumab?
The design of Ebumab’s novel therapies based on bispecific antibodies allows us to accumulate, modulate, and target endogenous cytokines already present in the patient’s own blood to the tumor site. This activates the patient’s immune system to fight the cancer. We call it the AMT technology – accumulation, modulation, and targeting – and it is the same technology we used as the foundation in our sister company Hemab. The aim is to apply the technology uniquely to manipulate cytokine activity to drive immune activation and provide novel and revolutionizing treatment options for cancer patients.
We hypothesize that we can activate the immune system in a way that has not been seen before. The AMT technology has some clear advantages. Besides being potent, it has low toxicity, it is easy to work with, and the basic method is validated.
You could say we are tweaking the immune system with a novel and unique approach that we hypothesize solves some issues related to current cytokine replacement therapies for cancer treatment.
What are the problems that you aim to solve?
Our technology fixes several challenges with current recombinant drugs, such as stability, side effects of the treatment, and then we also provide better control of the immune system’s regulatory mechanisms.
By controlling these regulatory mechanisms, we strive to exploit the immune system’s positive advantages while preventing harmful side effects. Our initial in vitro data shows high promise; thus, we have great expectations that it will be possible to translate our science into something commercially interesting.
Do you have a stronger technological vantage point due to the developments already achieved by Hemab?
We have an advantage regarding CMC (chemistry, manufacturing, controls) and a clear plan to meet the regulatory requirements to get approval for our drug.
Furthermore, Ebumab operates in a technological field with relatively low development risks compared to many other companies in the anti-cancer space. We believe having a clinically validated method and low development risks is a good value proposition.
How do you differentiate yourself from others in a crowded oncology space?
We focus on areas with high unmet needs and where current therapies struggle to enter the market. We welcome competition, and since we are bringing a novel approach to the oncology space, we must identify opportunities where even competitors could benefit from our solution in combination therapy. Combination drug therapy has gradually received more and more attention, and this opens doors for us and could be a fast track to clinical investigations.
Which milestones do you need to achieve during the Venture Lab program?
Our primary focus is establishing an in vivo proof of concept in rodents. This is an ambitious goal, but we believe it is achievable. Furthermore, we are building and strengthening our team, which can take our lead asset into the clinic. Most recently, we have succeeded in signing with Stine Kjellev, who will join Ebumab as CSO as of April 1st. Stine comes from a position as VP of Translational Medicine from YMabs and has provided significant contributions in securing successful CTA filing of several of their programs. We have planned on 1-2 additional hires in the upcoming months.
How do you benefit from being part of BII’s community?
It’s the energy, the entrepreneurial spirit, and the whole atmosphere. Furthermore, it’s pretty luxurious for an early-stage start-up to access BII’s state-of-the-art laboratory facilities. Our company will also be given the time and space to mature, while BII ensures our clear focus and a commercial perspective from day 1. As scientific founders, you sometimes tend to focus mainly on science. Still, in the Venture Lab program, it’s essential to consider all parameters of building a company, including building a solid team and creating a strong culture.
It’s also advantageous to be close to all the other companies in BII’s community to share knowledge and experiences. People often struggle with the same problems, and it can be helpful to hear how other companies coped with some of the challenges we currently have.
You can also read more about our newest Venture Lab cohort here