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Partnership with biotech company aims to develop treatments for multiple cancer types

Orion and Alligator Bioscience are working together to develop bispecific antibodies for the treatment of cancer. Both companies hope that the pharmaceutical ingredients developed together will help cancer patients in the future. Orion’s research approach has made an impression on its partner.

Orion and biotech company Alligator Bioscience signed a licensing and collaboration agreement in August 2021. Two research programmes are now underway, one of which was launched in early 2023. 

“The cooperation has been fruitful. As a result, we were very happy to launch a second research programme with Alligator Bioscience,” says Anil Thotakura, Head of Immuno-Oncology  at Orion.

The research collaboration will tap into Alligator Bioscience’s versatile antibody library and the RUBY™ platform, which enables the development of bispecific antibodies.  
Alligator Bioscience is also very pleased with the collaboration so far.

Running several projects at the same time speeds up research progress and facilitates decision-making."

“Orion has strong expertise in drug target validation, and the company’s machinery and research approach are impressive. Research progresses faster and decision-making is easier when several projects are running at the same,” says Laura von Schantz, Chief Technology Officer at Alligator Bioscience. 

“We are a small company, so it’s great to be able to tap into this kind of capacity,” says Malin Carlsson, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Alligator Bioscience.

Collaboration is centred around flexibility and trust 

A joint steering group of the partner companies meets four times a year in Finland or Sweden. Otherwise, communication takes place through weekly online meetings. 
“I love our high-level scientific discussions with the Orion team,” says von Schantz. 
Carlsson, who is a member of the joint steering group, agrees: 
“Our discussions are always constructive, and meetings are always enjoyable.” 
Both Orion and Alligator Bioscience are pleased with the flexibility of the research collaboration. It is based on mutual trust.  

“As we have a shared view on the direction and objectives of the research there is no need to negotiate separately on every small experiment,” Carlsson says.

Doors open for future collaboration

The ongoing research projects should be completed in the coming years. The aim is to produce two drug candidates that can be further refined, potentially all the way to a finished drug. They could benefit patients who do not respond to the present available therapeutics.

We believe it will be possible to use the antibodies we develop to treat a wide range of cancer types."

“We believe it will be possible to use the antibodies we develop to treat a wide range of cancer types,” says Thotakura. 
Both companies have high expectations of the potential of the pharmaceutical ingredients created through the collaboration to help cancer patients.

We saw a real opportunity to develop new cancer drugs."

“We embarked on this collaboration because we saw a real opportunity to develop new cancer drugs,” Carlsson says. 

In the future, bispecific antibodies may be able to offer many advantages for the next generation immuno-oncology treatments. They will be used to develop more effective treatments for cancer patients who do not respond to the present available therapeutics. 

Immuno-oncology treatments harness the body’s own immune system to destroy cancer cells. This can increase patients’ life expectancy or even cure cancer.  

Read more about immuno-oncology research

Aim of the partnership: The ongoing research projects will result in two drug candidates that can be further refined – potentially all the way to a finished drug. 

Information about the partner
Alligator Bioscience AB is a Swedish clinical-stage biotechnology company that develops immuno-oncology antibody drugs for cancer treatments. It specialises in tumour-directed immunotherapy drugs. The company is primarily active in the early phases of drug development, from the idea stage to clinical phase 2 trials and beyond. It is based in Lund, Sweden. Its shares are listed on Nasdaq Stockholm. 

Orion as a partner 
We are a Finnish pharmaceutical company that operates globally. The core therapy areas of our pharmaceutical R&D are oncology and pain. We collaborate with other companies in manufacturing, research and product development, and in the international marketing of our products. Good collaboration with our partners is a matter of honour for us. Partnerships and networking are important for Orion throughout the value chain of its operations.  
Read more about partnering with us