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R&D progress on new Optimer®+ platform

27/02/2024

  • New Optimer®+ platform delivers improved results compared to standard binders 
  • Animal studies show good tolerance for therapeutic use 

Aptamer Group plc, the developer of novel Optimer® binders to enable innovation in the life sciences industry, today announces an update on the technical progress made with the new Optimer®+ programme. 

Optimer®+ is a novel affinity ligand platform that can be considered amongst the next generation of binding reagents, beyond our current Optimer®-based offering. Since last year’s fundraising activities, the Company has focused on advancing the Optimer®+ program as one of the key strands of its new strategy. The Company is now pleased to report that excellent progress has been made in developing the new platform.  

Current data shows that Optimer®+ binders can be isolated against a range of target types, including those with high therapeutic value. This means that the platform is applicable throughout the life sciences industry, in several settings, including the development of disease-modifying biopharmaceuticals; radionucleotide and gene therapy delivery; and the targeting of infectious disease. 

The latest proof-of-concept results show that the Optimer®+ platform can produce highly specific binders with significantly higher affinity than the current technology platform. Development times for Optimer®+ are also significantly faster than existing aptamer-based approaches.  

Lab-based results have shown Optimer®+ binders appear stable in blood serum and are not harmful to cells. Furthermore, preliminary experiments in mice have shown Optimer®+ binders to be well tolerated demonstrating the basic requirements for therapeutic applications. 

Optimer®+ uses a modified oligonucleotide library that creates hybrid Optimer®-peptide binders engineered with a scaffold structure that bridge the gap between traditional aptamers and protein-based affinity ligands. The Company’s new platform combines the flexibility, manufacturing, and stability benefits of its current technology with the functional diversity and binding capability of a protein. This approach aligns the Optimer®+ platform with high growth antibody alternatives such as Bicycles and DARPins. 

Aptamer expects the new Optimer®+ platform to expand the capability of its binders in all applications, especially in precision medicine. The technology is fully protected with a portfolio of granted patents, ensuring Aptamer Group retains exclusive rights for all uses of the new system. 

Evaluation processes are ongoing within the Company and with external partners to optimise the development and large-scale manufacturing protocols, with an active marketing strategy to follow.  

A pre-recorded webcast from Dr David Bunka, Chief Scientific Officer of Aptamer Group, reviewing the Optimer®+ platform and the technical progress to date, will be available on the Aptamer Group website from 10:00am (UCT) on 13 March, 2024, at: https://aptamergroup.com/investors/reports-and-presentations/ 

Since we received the proceeds of the September fundraise, the team has worked hard to accelerate the development of Optimer®+ and to show the new platform’s capabilities. The development of this platform is integral to our mission to stay at the forefront of binder technologies. Both the lab-based research and the initial animal experiments suggest that Optimer®+ will be well placed to deliver the next generation of binders to enable the targeted delivery of precision medicines. This is an area where we are seeing increasing interest due to the unmet needs across gene therapy and precision chemotherapy.

Dr Arron Tolley, Chief Technical Officer of Aptamer Group

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