WEP’s biopolymers – Polypeg, a low viscosity ‘comb polymer’ that extends duration of action and Glycopol, a glycopolymer targeting system designed to improve uptake via interaction with glycan receptors on cellular surfaces – will be integrated with Polytherics drug modification technologies.
Polytherics CEO John Burt said that through the acquisition – financial terms of which were not disclosed – “PolyTherics now has broader technology capabilities for the pharmaceutical and biotechnology company partners that the two companies have separately served.”
WEP – which was spun-out by the University of Warwick, UK in 2001 – manufactures its biopolymers using ‘Living Radical Polymerisation (LRP)’, a production platform that enables a range of different monomers to be incorporated into a single molecule in a controlled way.
This approach means that each of the macromolecules WEP makes can have a range of different properties and functionalities including those that can be used to improve the performance or therapeutic efficacy of biopharmaceutical products.
Polypeg, for example, consists of short, low viscosity comb-shaped polymers with low molecular weight side chains that – WEP claims on its website – increase the activity of biopharmaceuticals to which they are attached, even those given at high dosages.
Similarly, WEP claims its Glycopol molecules – polymer chains with monosaccharides side chains - improve targeting and uptake by altering drug pharmacokinetics, pharmacodistribution, solubility, stability and receptor binding are all influenced by their carbohydrate composition.
For Polytherics - whose core business is the provision of drug modification technologies to larger drug developers - the acquisition should provide a useful expansion of its service offering which, prior to the deal, was focused solely on pegylation.
The deal also comes at a time of rapid change for the biologics industry with more and more companies starting to explore the field of biosimilars as a way of replenishing pipelines.
Technologies that can extend the patentable lifespan of complex biopharmaceutical are likely to be much in demand in the next few years.