Research Division

Our research units are crucial in the antibody discovery and development process, which they achieve with a high degree of independence.

Research Units

There are 10 research units at Chugai Pharmabody Research Pte Ltd. These units have independent functions in the antibody discovery and development process, and they work synergistically as a whole to accelerate antibody drug development.


Lead Identification Unit

The Lead Identification (LI) unit drives the discovery and identification of high-quality candidate therapeutic antibodies as well as tool antibodies required by other units for the establishment of assay systems and proof of concept studies. In order to achieve maximum output of lead antibodies, high throughput systems play a major part in the selection and screening processes. The LI unit is equipped with flow cytometers for high-speed sorting, automation workstations and liquid handling systems to accelerate workflow, allowing for the screening of thousands of antibodies within a short period of time.

Automation and Data Management Unit

The Automation Unit (AU) integrates multiple high throughput platforms to improve the productivity of the research in CPR, including plasmid generation, protein mutagenesis, protein production and multi-dimensional biological sample analysis. The AU also provides high throughput data generation and integration solutions for all units, which transforms data into intelligence with user friendly interface and accelerate the research in whole CPR.

Translational Pharmacology Unit

The Translational Pharmacology (TR) unit is responsible for immunisation, PK/PD analysis and biomarker exploration, and supports pharmacological studies.

Protein Production Unit

The Protein Production (PP) unit is dedicated to producing high purity and high quality antibody and non-antibody proteins in milligram to gram scale. Our activities include transient expression of recombinant proteins using mammalian as well as bacterial systems, and purifications of recombinant as well as endogenous proteins using all types of column chromatography. Efficient protein production by the PP unit accelerates the antibody drug discoveries in CPR.

Pharmacology Unit

The Pharmacology (PC) unit is the central body in CPR responsible for establishing and optimising assays to evaluate candidate antibodies. The PC unit places strong emphasis on designing assays which are not only robust, highly sensitive, but also physiologically relevant, by taking into account the natural biology of the target molecule. In addition to assay development, the PC unit is also tasked with screening the panel of antibodies to identify hits with superior characteristics. To do this, the PC unit employs a wide range of high throughput assay systems to assess the function of antibodies generated by the other research units within CPR. Hence, the PC team strongly values broad-based expertise in multiple areas such as pharmacology, molecular biology, biochemistry, physiology, and pathology.

Lead Optimisation Unit

The Lead Optimisation (LO) unit is the chief division in steering lead antibody drugs to meet the target antibody profile. Through the execution of comprehensive mutagenesis and high throughput screening, the LO unit is able to identify monoclonal antibodies with vastly improved binding characteristics, physicochemical and pharmacokinetic properties, as well as minimal immunogenicity. This process of antibody engineering encompasses molecular cloning, small-scale protein expression in mammalian system and multi-dimensional analysis. The LO unit works closely with other research units in CPR to discover and optimise suitable drug candidates.

Biologics Analysis Unit

The vision of the Biologics Analysis (BA) unit is to drive the design of an innovative complex biologics by revealing a critical aspect of a molecule with global-top-level analytical capability. To achieve this vision, BA unit covers a broad range of analysis of candidate molecules from in vitro to in vivo studies: physicochemical property, binding activity to a target, pharmacokinetics property, and pharmacodynamic marker change. We support projects in every stage from lead identification to clinical candidate selection, including screening thousands antibodies, assessing manufacturability, and setting pre-formulation design. To fulfil the mission we have access to various analytical equipment: SPR (surface plasmon resonance), HPLC, LC-MS, ELISA, ECL (electrochemiluminescence) assay, etc. Through the characterisation we reveal the critical aspects of biologics and enables CPR to design and select the best candidate and develop an innovative technology.

Research Support Unit

Research Support Unit commenced operations from 2018. The Unit works as a single point of operational activities among the Research Units. This unit has a wide variety of responsibilities to provide operational support to CPR scientists. Each Unit member has a specific expertise such as Laboratory Safety, IT, and other activities to achieve its operational excellence.

New Modality Unit

The New Modality (NM) unit started its operations from October 2018. In addition to accelerating drug discovery using its proprietary antibody technologies, Chugai Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. (Chugai) has been working to establish New Modality discovery technologies as candidates for its next-generation core technology for more than a decade. Chugai has decided to transfer to CPR this discovery technology with researchers who possess industry-leading research and technological capabilities backed by both chemistry and biotechnology. The NM unit researchers have been focused on establishing this method by delivering from researchers with high speciality to CPR. New technology, including automation has been under development with CPR researchers who are highly skilled in both engineering and biotechnology.

The Lead Identification (LI) unit drives the discovery and identification of high-quality candidate therapeutic antibodies as well as tool antibodies required by other units for the establishment of assay systems and proof of concept studies. In order to achieve maximum output of lead antibodies, high throughput systems play a major part in the selection and screening processes. The LI unit is equipped with flow cytometers for high-speed sorting, automation workstations and liquid handling systems to accelerate workflow, allowing for the screening of thousands of antibodies within a short period of time.

The Automation Unit (AU) integrates multiple high throughput platforms to improve the productivity of the research in CPR, including plasmid generation, protein mutagenesis, protein production and multi-dimensional biological sample analysis. The AU also provides high throughput data generation and integration solutions for all units, which transforms data into intelligence with user friendly interface and accelerate the research in whole CPR.

The Translational Pharmacology (TR) unit is responsible for immunisation, PK/PD analysis and biomarker exploration, and supports pharmacological studies.

The Pharmacology (PC) unit is the central body in CPR responsible for establishing and optimising assays to evaluate candidate antibodies. The PC unit places strong emphasis on designing assays which are not only robust, highly sensitive, but also physiologically relevant, by taking into account the natural biology of the target molecule. In addition to assay development, the PC unit is also tasked with screening the panel of antibodies to identify hits with superior characteristics. To do this, the PC unit employs a wide range of high throughput assay systems to assess the function of antibodies generated by the other research units within CPR. Hence, the PC team strongly values broad-based expertise in multiple areas such as pharmacology, molecular biology, biochemistry, physiology, and pathology.

The Protein Production (PP) unit is dedicated to producing high purity and high quality antibody and non-antibody proteins in milligram to gram scale. Our activities include transient expression of recombinant proteins using mammalian as well as bacterial systems, and purifications of recombinant as well as endogenous proteins using all types of column chromatography. Efficient protein production by the PP unit accelerates the antibody drug discoveries in CPR.

The Lead Optimisation (LO) unit is the chief division in steering lead antibody drugs to meet the target antibody profile. Through the execution of comprehensive mutagenesis and high throughput screening, the LO unit is able to identify monoclonal antibodies with vastly improved binding characteristics, physicochemical and pharmacokinetic properties, as well as minimal immunogenicity. This process of antibody engineering encompasses molecular cloning, small-scale protein expression in mammalian system and multi-dimensional analysis. The LO unit works closely with other research units in CPR to discover and optimise suitable drug candidates.

The vision of the Biologics Analysis (BA) unit is to drive the design of an innovative complex biologics by revealing a critical aspect of a molecule with global-top-level analytical capability. To achieve this vision, BA unit covers a broad range of analysis of candidate molecules from in vitro to in vivo studies: physicochemical property, binding activity to a target, pharmacokinetics property, and pharmacodynamic marker change. We support projects in every stage from lead identification to clinical candidate selection, including screening thousands antibodies, assessing manufacturability, and setting pre-formulation design. To fulfil the mission we have access to various analytical equipment: SPR (surface plasmon resonance), HPLC, LC-MS, ELISA, ECL (electrochemiluminescence) assay, etc. Through the characterisation we reveal the critical aspects of biologics and enables CPR to design and select the best candidate and develop an innovative technology.

Research Support Unit commenced operations from 2018. The Unit works as a single point of operational activities among the Research Units. This unit has a wide variety of responsibilities to provide operational support to CPR scientists. Each Unit member has a specific expertise such as Laboratory Safety, IT, and other activities to achieve its operational excellence.

The New Modality (NM) unit started its operations from October 2018. In addition to accelerating drug discovery using its proprietary antibody technologies, Chugai Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. (Chugai) has been working to establish New Modality discovery technologies as candidates for its next-generation core technology for more than a decade. Chugai has decided to transfer to CPR this discovery technology with researchers who possess industry-leading research and technological capabilities backed by both chemistry and biotechnology. The NM unit researchers have been focused on establishing this method by delivering from researchers with high speciality to CPR. New technology, including automation has been under development with CPR researchers who are highly skilled in both engineering and biotechnology.

Organisation of Research Units

Technology

CPR builds on the proprietary antibody engineering technology developed by the Chugai Group in order to achieve our goals.

Sequential Monoclonal Antibody Recycling Technology – Immunoglobulin – SMART-Ig

A conventional antibody derived from known technology, regardless of how high its affinity to a target antigen is, has two limitations:

1) The antibody can only bind to the antigen once; and

2) The antibody once bound to the antigen, cannot be eliminated from plasma.

SMART-Ig, developed by Chugai, is an entirely new technology that overcomes these two limitations. It enables the targeting of previously untargetable antigens and achieves a product profile that previously could not be realised with a conventional antibody

T-Cell Redirecting Antibody

TRAB antibodies target against various tumor antigens.
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Switch Antibody

Switch-Ig is an antibody that specifically binds to the target antigen in the tumor microenvironment.
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Recycling Antibody®

The Recycling Antibody® is engineered so that a single antibody molecule can bind to an antigen multiple times, in contrast to conventional antibodies, which can only bind antigen once.
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Sweeping Antibody®

The Sweeping Antibody® is a recycling antibody that has been further engineered to bind to FcRn at neutral pH.
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Bispecific Antibody

A bispecific antibody can bind to two different antigens with the two arms of antibody.
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