Today’s Veterinary Business Staff
Akston Biosciences Corp. has announced that the Massachusetts company will pivot away from human health to focus on inventing, developing and manufacturing protein therapeutics designed to improve pet health.
“As with human health 20 years ago, protein therapeutics are now poised to revolutionize companion animal health,” said Dr. Todd Zion, the president and CEO of Akston Biosciences. “Our goal is to be a major player in this revolution through focused efforts that leverage our ability to develop products from concept through commercial manufacturing.”
Akston Biosciences plans to partner with animal health companies to market its novel therapeutics. For example, Akston Biosciences is working with Dechra Pharmaceuticals to develop AKS-321d and AKS-425c.
The company uses a versatile Ambifect Fc-fusion protein platform to develop therapeutic candidates for indications in companion animal health. The current candidates include:
- AKS-321d: The canine diabetes treatment involves administering a weekly immunoglobulin-fragment-crystallizable recombinant (FcRn) insulin. FcRn insulin recycles through cells, giving it a long plasma half-life and protection against proteolysis.
- AKS-425c: The feline diabetes treatment involves FcRn recycled insulin at a per-week dosing.
- AKS-544d: The canine chronic pain treatment involves inducing or augmenting antibody titers.
- AKS-197d: The canine oncology drug downregulates insulin receptors.
Akston also serves as a contract development and manufacturing organization for animal health companies, using capabilities such as a multikilogram-scale cGMP biologics clean-room factory and a pharmacology laboratory.
Akston’s human health lines, including infectious disease vaccines and human Type 1 diabetes prevention, will continue under wholly owned subsidiaries Vakston Inc. and Diamune Therapeutics Inc.
The spinoffs will allow the companies to concentrate on their therapeutic candidates, said Rahul Bhansali, the managing partner at Formation Venture Engineering and an Akston shareholder.
“Spinning out Vakston and Diamune allows each new company to continue developing its promising candidates at the proper pace, reflecting their own investment thesis,” he said.