Molecules of Man AB
Molecules of Man AB is a spin-off company based on discoveries at the Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden. The company was founded in 2005 and is owned by its founders. It is focused on developing human monoclonal antibodies for treatment of infectious diseases.
The last 15 years have seen a dramatic growth for biological drugs, engaging both large pharma and an increasing number of new CROs. Concommittantly, the big companies have reduced there in-house discovery programs and are focussing on clinical trials and world-wide marketing, creating opportunities for small companies to pursue antibody discovery projects for eventual licensing to larger entities.
Molecules of Man is working in this niche. Our main goal is to discover novel antibodies for treatment of infectious diseases, preferably with orphan indications, bring them to proof-of-concept in man and then find partners.
When the immune system recognizes a substance as foreign, e.g. a virus or a bacteria, it will elicit an immune response in order to combat the intruder and establish immunological memory – we become immune to the invader. The immune response may take a few weeks to be completed. In the process, both cells directed towards the foreign material will be generated (Killer T-cells), and molecules binding to it; the latter are the antibodies, produced by white blood cells (B cells).
Vaccines consists of parts of viruses or bacteria, or non-hazardous variants of them (cholera, measles etc). The immune system will react to them, too – antibodies and cells will be raised. However, antibodies can also be injected into humans who urgently need their binding properties. A prime example is the anti-toxin preparations given to snake bitten individuals: such preparations contain antibodies to the venom, they will block the toxin molecules from reaching their targets and there perform their deleterious effects. Those effects are so fast, so if we were to wait for the immune system to raise its response to the toxin, it would be too late.
Accordingly, we distinguish between:
• active immunization, where vaccination or a natural infection activates the whole immune system over a few weeks, and memory is established
• passive immunzation, when premade antibodies are injected conveying an immediate effect against their target.
The possibility to produce human antibodies that can be directed to any type of target has launched a whole new pharmacological industry since the 1990-ies, ”biopharma”. Indeed, half of the top ten revenue drugs world wide in 2012 were human monoclonal antibodies.
We generate combinatorial antibody libraries derived from blood cells obtained from human donors who have the type of antibody we want to isolate. Thus, we generate fully human antibodies derived from a natural immune response.
Managing Director: Mats A A Persson, MD, PhD.
Chief Scientific Officer: Daniel Johansson, PhD.
A highly skilled molecular biologist with extensive experience from antibody engineering and vaccine development in academia and biotech.
Board of directors
Mr Staffan Söderström, Chairman of the Board and one of the founders of the company; he has extensive experience from marketing and business development positions in the international pharma and oil industry.
Dr Tobias Allander, MD, PhD, founder of the company and a leading clinical virologist, and the director of Clinical Microbiology at Karolinska University Hospital. He discovered the human bocavirus and the KI polyomavirus, for which he has received numerous awards.
Dr Alf A Lindberg, MD PhD, is Professor Emeritus in Bacteriology at Karolinska Institutet (KI) and has been Secretary of the Nobel Assembly at KI. Alf has extensive experience in vaccine development from work as CSO and Director of R&D at Wyeth Vaccines and Sanofi Pasteur.
Mr Urban Paulsson. Urban is a partner at the Law firm Nordia. He has broad experiences of the Life Sciences industry, starting in 1994 when he joined the Pharmacia Corporation. He is the chairman of Cormorant Pharmaceuticals AB and Axcentua Pharmaceuticals AB.
Dr Mats A A Persson, MD, PhD, Managing Director and co-founder. Aside from his research interests, he is a physician specialising in psychiatry. He participated in the original development of combinatorial antibody libraries in the US, and transferred the technology to Sweden. Commercial opportunities for antibodies generated by his group led to the formation Molecules of Man.