Animal health therapeutic development platform demonstrates versatility

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The Akston Biosciences technology is used to design therapies for humans and animals with diabetes

A companion animal therapeutics developer has published a new study with results that demonstrate the potential of an antigen-specific immunotherapy, AKS-107, to target and delete insulin-specific ß cells. The results also show the versatility of the development platform the therapy was based on.1

Clinical research

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The study, published in Frontiers in Immunology,2 showed that the AKS-107 human IgG1 Fc-fusion protein safely prevented spontaneous diabetes in nonobese mice with diabetes and insulin-reactive ß cell receptor transgenic mouse strains, according to Akston Biosciences in Beverly, Massachusetts. A promising candidate for clinical development of Type 1 diabetes (T1D) prevention therapy, this protein is engineered to retain conformational insulin epitopes that bind to ß cell receptors and prevents binding to the insulin metabolic receptor, according to a news release. Additional studies have shown that AKS-107 has a protracted pharmacokinetic profile and was well-tolerated in mice and nonhuman primates.1

Partnered with Dechra Pharmaceuticals PLC, Akston Biosciences is also working to commercialize canine and feline insulin therapies in its’ animal health pipeline.1 These include novel therapeutic candidates AKS-321d for managing canine diabetes and AK425c for feline diabetes.3 “These insulins are able to be injected once a week,” said Todd Zion, PhD, president and CEO of Akston Biosciences, in a presentation at the 2023 Animal Health Corridor Summit in Kansas City, Missouri.4

Development of both companion animal insulin therapies and AKS-107 are based on Akston Biosciences' Ambifect Fc-fusion protein platform.1,4 This common platform enables the company to develop therapeutic candidates that interact with parts of the immune system related to the target disease while minimizing the effects off-target.5

Through this technology, Akston can reduce therapeutic development time and manufacturing costs across its pipeline, according to the company. "Akston has confirmed the versatility of the Ambifect platform across diverse treatment areas, including extended duration insulin therapies, infectious disease vaccines, and, with AKS-107, interrupting an autoimmune cascade," said Zion, in a recent news release.1 “We are now exploring its application to therapeutic vaccination, where the immune system is recruited to target proteins involved in noncommunicable diseases.”

The Ambifect Fc-fusion platform was recognized with the Most Innovative Award at the 2023 Animal Health Corridor Summit. During the summit, hosted by the KC Animal Health Corridor organization, Zion presented Akston Biosciences’ work on developing novel therapies for canine and feline diabetes that rely on monoclonal antibodies, which are also used in human medicine. He noted that the company invested in its own manufacturing facility and is leveraging technology to find cost-effective, efficient methods to address various needs in the animal health space. “We really believe that the veterinary field health field is poised to experience its’ own revolution in this area,” Zion said, at the summit.4,6

References

  1. Akston Biosciences’ AKS-107 study published in Frontiers in Immunology, displaying Ambifect Platform’s versatility. News release. Akston Biosciences. March 11, 2024. Accessed March 12, 2024. https://www.akstonbio.com/akston-biosciences-aks-107-study-published-in-frontiers-in-immunology-displaying-ambifect-platforms-versatility/
  2. Alleva DG, Delpero AR, Sathiyaseelan T, etal. An antigen-specific immunotherapeutic, AKS-107, deletes insulin-specific B cells and prevents murine autoimmune diabetes. Front Immunol. 2024;15. https://doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2024.1367514
  3. Long-acting Fc-fusion proteins. Akston Biosciences. Accessed March 12, 2024. https://www.akstonbio.com/pipelinenew/
  4. Akston Biosciences. Ambifect platform advantages. Akston Biosciences website. Accessed March 12, 2024. https://www.akstonbio.com/platform-2/
  5. Zion T. Emerging Companies: Akston Biosciences. Presented at: 2023 Animal Health Summit; Kansas City, MO. August 28-29, 2023.
  6. Burke J. Akston Biosciences wins innovation award at animal health summit. dvm360. August 31, 2023. Accessed March 12, 2024. https://www.dvm360.com/view/akston-biosciences-wins-innovation-award-at-animal-health-summit
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