This story originally ran on Oct. 27.
Advanced Proteome Therapeutics last week announced it had filed a patent application covering its linking technology that the company's chief executive said could speed along protein-based therapies.
Patents have been filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office and under the Patent Cooperation Treaty relating to APT's proprietary technology called Swift Linkage Multivalent Technology, Allen Krantz, president and CEO of the Vancouver, British Columbia, firm, told ProteoMonitor last week.
The technology would be the second step of a two-step process in protein therapy development so that certain properties can be improved in the protein, such as increasing the duration of action.
The first step is to modify the protein so that an agent can be attached to the protein. The second step is attaching the agent to the protein, which Krantz said has been a limiting factor in the development of protein therapeutics.
Click chemistry has been the standard method for attaching agents to proteins, but the main drawback to that technology has been that it takes hours to make attachments, said Krantz. Also, click chemistry is not an optimal method for proteins that don't like metals, he added.
By comparison, SLMT utilizes novel chemistry to attach agents to proteins in minutes. In some cases, Krantz said, attachments may not be possible with other technologies. The attachments can be used to improve a protein's therapeutic properties or create imaging agents for diagnostic purposes.
Krantz declined to describe SLMT in detail, but said, "If you can set your protein up to accept the entity that needs to be attached, this is a very facile process because it's fast, it's quantitative, and it's site-specific."
The technology is directed at large-molecule drugs, he said. Though it may be applicable to small-molecule drugs, because there are already numerous options to modify small molecules, "I'm not sure how much it would add to existing methods," Krantz said.
SLMT would not replace click chemistry. "It remains to be seen the number of [SLMT] applications and how broad the applications will be," Krantz said, and added "I think that people would naturally consider the merits of both in trying to implement an attachment to a protein."
In a statement, APT said it is applying SLMT internally to disease areas that include cancer, Crohn's disease, diabetes, obesity, atherothrombosis, and plaque rupture.
APT also is developing a technology aimed at modifying a protein for linkage, called kinetic library labeling, that would allow an entity to link to the protein at any part, not just at the protein's termini.
"It would give you lots of shots on goal because you could make lots of different attachments, all of which are specific molecules," Krantz said. "So if you have something that was specific for one site in one tube, and then specific for another site in another tube, you could isolate all these things and test them.
"In the final analysis, the pharmaceutical industry prefers that because they know that drug development is a numbers games," he said.
APT is "very close" to filing a patent on the technology, Krantz said.