Vaccinex and Catalent Biologics to Collaborate on Antibody-Drug Conjugate Development

Program will leverage Catalent’s Proprietary SMARTag® and GPEx® Technologies, and Vaccinex’s Proprietary ActivMAb® Technology


SOMERSET, N.J. and ROCHESTER, N.Y. – November 30, 2017 —Catalent Pharma Solutions, the leading global provider of advanced delivery technologies and development solutions for drugs, biologics and consumer health products, and Vaccinex, Inc., a clinical-stage biotechnology company engaged in the discovery and development of human therapeutic monoclonal antibodies and other targeted biological therapies, today announced an agreement to develop an antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) using Catalent’s proprietary SMARTag® conjugation platform and GPEx® cell line engineering technologies, and Vaccinex’s proprietary ActivMAb® technology. The collaboration will focus on developing the ADC against an undisclosed cancer target.

Catalent and Vaccinex will evaluate the ADC in various preclinical models and move it into cell line and process development, utilizing Catalent’s proprietary GPEx technology and development and manufacturing capabilities at its state-of-the-art Madison, Wisconsin facility.

“Vaccinex is excited to partner with Catalent Biologics to develop this novel antibody-drug conjugate for the treatment of cancer. We feel that by combining an ActivMAb antibody with Catalent’s SMARTag conjugation technology, we can generate a unique, differentiated molecule to treat cancers overexpressing this particular target,” commented Raymond E. Watkins, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Vaccinex.

“We are delighted to partner with an innovative company like Vaccinex to develop a product that has the potential to deliver better outcomes for patients,” added Mike Riley, Vice President & General Manager of Catalent Biologics. “The opportunity to leverage these complementary technology platforms provides great promise to produce a differentiated ADC product.”

Catalent’s proprietary SMARTag site-specific protein-modification and linker technologies were developed to enable the generation of homogenous bioconjugates engineered to enhance potency, safety and stability. The technology employs natural post-translational modifications found in human cells to create “chemical handles” at predetermined sites on protein molecules. These sites can then be stably chemically conjugated to many different payloads. The control afforded by the technology enables identification of superior drugs from libraries of differentially designed conjugates. The GPEx technology creates stable, high-yielding mammalian cell lines with high speed and efficiency. To date, eight GPEx-based antibody and protein products are approved and marketed, and over 45 therapeutic candidates are currently in the clinic across the world.

ActivMAb is Vaccinex’s antibody discovery and optimization platform. It combines the advantages of both viral panning and cell sorting to enable the efficient identification of high-affinity, fully human antibodies from antibody libraries expressed in mammalian cells. A fusion protein of immunoglobulin heavy chain with a vaccinia membrane protein (Ig-VMP) has been developed that enables efficient expression on the surface of vaccinia virus, an enveloped mammalian virus, as well as on the surface of the infected cell.


About Vaccinex, Inc.

Vaccinex, Inc. is a privately held clinical-stage immunotherapy company engaged in the discovery and development of human therapeutic monoclonal antibodies to treat cancer and neurodegenerative diseases, including Huntington’s disease. Vaccinex utilizes its proprietary ActivMAb® Antibody Discovery Technology for rapid, mammalian cell-based antibody selection to build its antibody pipeline and in service to its biopharmaceutical partners. ActivMAb combines the advantages of rapid and sensitive selection by virus panning and cell sorting in one technology, with intrinsic selection of antibodies that are efficiently expressed and stable in mammalian cells. Recent advances have made this technology uniquely efficient for selection of antibodies against multi-pass membrane proteins, an important class of target molecules for pharmaceutical development. Vaccinex is based in Rochester, New York. For more information and to contact Vaccinex ( or visit


About Catalent Biologics

Catalent Biologics provides advanced technologies and tailored solutions for biologic and biosimilar development, from DNA to commercial supply, through our extensive Biologics network including Madison, Wisconsin, Emeryville, California, Kansas City, Missouri, Morrisville, North Carolina and through its recent acquisition of Cook Pharmica in Bloomington, Indiana. For more information on Catalent Biologics, visit


About Catalent

Catalent is the leading global provider of advanced delivery technologies and development solutions for drugs, biologics and consumer health products. With over 80 years serving the industry, Catalent has proven expertise in bringing more customer products to market faster, enhancing product performance and ensuring reliable clinical and commercial product supply. Catalent employs approximately 11,000 people, including over 1,400 scientists, at more than 30 facilities across five continents, and in fiscal 2017 generated over $2 billion in annual revenue. Catalent is headquartered in Somerset, New Jersey. For more information, visit

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Press Contact via Email Only

Raymond E. Watkins
Senior Vice President & Chief Operating Officer
Vaccinex, Inc.