A biotechnology company based in Madison will enter the pharmaceutical market with cheaper, more efficient means of antibody production that works against diseases such as cancer.
Invenra, which specializes in antibody discovery technology, was founded in 2011 by University of Wisconsin alumni Roland Green and Emile Nuwaysir.
Since the company’s beginning, scientists within the company have made strides in finding the next generation of biopharmaceuticals, emphasizing research on efficient antibody production, Kimberly Kaufman, director of strategic accounts at Invenra, said.
“Invenra has a cell-free expression technology to make antibodies outside of the cell, allowing us to make a full length antibody overnight,” Kaufman said. “We can make hundreds of thousands of antibodies and immediately test the effects on cells.”
Antibodies play an important role in immune reactions and are at the forefront of many drug companies’ research, Bryan Glaser, head of research and development at Inverna, said. Antibodies are specific molecules that can stop, start or alter biological processes when attached to a cellular structure, he said.
Drug companies are focused on finding specific antibodies to work against specific diseases, according to a UW statement.
“Antibodies can be exquisitely specific to what they are binding with,” Kaufman said. “Antibodies are larger molecules, allowing them to interact with proteins in a much more specific manner.”
Invenra uses genetically humanized mice to eliminate problems of autoimmunity or rejection in the human immune system, Glaser said.
Invenra offers cheaper methods of antibody production through microscopic operations, according to the statement. Scientists use less of the antibody for screening, which reduces the time and labor used for antibody synthesis. This can reduce the cost about one thousand times lower than competing techniques.
“Our primary goal is to partner with different pharmaceutical or biotechnology companies to enable different parts of the discovery process,” Glaser said.
Small companies may not have access to good discovery platforms and large companies may not have access to “unique twists” to cut costs, Glaser said.
Invenra currently partners with other companies to develop drugs and bring them to the market but would like to eventually branch out and begin developing their own products and pharmaceuticals, Glaser said.
The ability to create humanized antibodies in such a short time span coupled with small-scale screening methods that cut costs set Invenra apart as a biotechnology company, Glaser said.
“We have a strong background of antibody synthesis and engineering that gives us more depth in what we’re able to do compared to other display companies,” Glaser said.