In early April, we were thrilled to announce that the fifth Selexis SUREtechnology-generated product was approved in Russia for the biosimilar eculizumab under our relationship with Generium JSC. With this milestone, I’m reminded of how much we’ve accomplished over the past 16 months. We’ve strengthened current partner relationships and formed new collaborations. And, perhaps most meaningfully, we continued to witness our vision for our technology manifest itself in the development of bispecifics, biosimilars and other complex proteins. Innovation is at the core of bringing treatments to patients with diseases with limited or no treatments available. We’re proud that our tools and technologies are helping our partners deliver new, life-saving medicines to those in need faster and more safely than once possible. It’s gratifying to know that we’ve moved beyond our recognition as a Swiss start up to establishing a firm foothold as a premier cell line development partner to biopharmaceutical partners throughout the world.
Today, I’m proud to report that the number of clinical candidates leveraging SUREtechnology has increased 22% since last year to 119, while the number of marketed products has increased 67% over the same time period to five. It’s been an incredible year, and – with nine programs in Phase 3 utilizing our technology – we are eager to see what’s to come.
Even as we rapidly move forward, it’s important to pause, at least annually, and take stock of our accomplishments. Since January 2018, we’ve won awards, expanded our business development efforts and presence in the United States, hired a chief financial offer and increased the number of partners we’re working with worldwide. In 2018, we signed our 100th commercial license agreement.
We’re also pushing the boundaries of our technology in new and important ways. Highlights since January 2018:
We shared exciting partner news-
Signed four commercial license agreements with Xencor for xmAb bispecific antibody drug candidates expanding on strategic agreements signed in 2016 and 2011
Licensed SUREtechnology to Compugen to develop antibody-based therapeutics and support the advancement of its lead immuno-oncology product candidate
Formed a new relationship with Hoba Therapeutics with an agreement to advance its candidate for the treatment of peripheral neuropathic pain
Entered a second service agreement with Teneobio to develop research cell banks for oncology-targeting multi-specific UniAbs
We bolstered our growth with strategic hires, investments in technology and the formation of a scientific advisory board-
Alberto Garotti joined Selexis as Chief Financial Officer guiding our aggressive growth trajectory following the success of 2017 and our acquisition by JSR Life Sciences
We formed a joint scientific advisory board with KBI Biopharma leveraging experts in gene expression, cell line development, protein purification, analysis and development of monoclonal antibodies and therapeutic proteins
We added critical talent and invested in new equipment to expand our capacity to analyze whole genomes using next-generation sequencing methods.
Two new business development team members are now positioned in leading U.S. life sciences hubs to further Selexis’ reach
We were recognized as a Great Place to Work in 2018 and 2019 and named to the Swiss Biotech Association’s inaugural group of Swiss Biotech Success Stories
We published a study in Frontiers in Immunology with the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) and other collaborators on our approach to generating complex proteins
Amid these strides forward, improving our technology and getting drugs to market faster and more safely is at the core of what we do. To that end, we purchased Berkeley Lights’ Beacon® optofluidic platform and incorporated it into the SUREtechnology Platform workflow, which has allowed us to significantly shorten the time required to identify and select the optimal cell line manufacturing clones within the cell line development process. It is our hope that we’ll be able to shed weeks off of the timeline necessary to develop a research cell bank.