ProBioGen and Mapp Biopharmaceutical Partner to Develop Antibody Against Marburg Virus Disease

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ProBioGen and Mapp Biopharmaceutical will use the former’s GlymaxX technology to develop a cell line for an afucosylated antibody that targets Marburg virus infection

On March 13, 2024, contract development and manufacturing organization (CMDO), ProBioGen, announced that it has entered into services and license agreements with Mapp Biopharmaceutical to develop a cell line for an afucosylated antibody that targets Marburg virus (MARV) infection. The collaboration will use ProBioGen's GlymaxX technology to adjust the antibody’s afucosylation levels and enhance its therapeutic potential.

Under the agreement, ProBioGen will use its expertise in cell-line development, including its proprietary DirectedLuck transposase system and GlymaxX technology, to enhance the candidate’s antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC). According to the company in a press release, “ADCC enhancement is a key strategy for improving therapeutic antibody-drug efficacy.”

The GlymaxX technology is designed to optimize antibody activity. It does so by enhancing antibody-mediated cell killing of cancerous or infected cells. The technology is based on the stable introduction of a gene into producer cells; the gene encodes for an enzyme that blocks the cells' fucose biosynthesis pathway and, thus, the formation of fucose. As a result, no fucose is added in the antibody-producer cells to the antibody's N-linked carbohydrate part. The absence of fucose in antibodies is known to significantly enhance ADCC, ProBioGen stated in its press release.

GlymaxX can be applied to both novel or already existing antibody producer cell lines as well as to entire antibody expression and discovery platforms. ProBioGen stated that “GlymaxX does not negatively affect cellular productivity or other product characteristics. Furthermore, a GlymaxX cell line can be flexibly used to produce differently fucosylated products, depending on the upstream process: in fucose-free medium the antibody is literally afucosylated.”

"We are excited to collaborate with [Mapp Biopharmaceutical] in the development of a cell line for an afucosylated antibody targeting MARV infection, utilizing our GlymaxX technology," said Volker Sandig, chief scientific officer, ProBioGen, in the press release. "This again confirms the versatility of our technology which is broadly used for cancer therapeutics but can also make a meaningful impact in the fight against life-threatening infections."

The Marburg virus poses a significant public health threat, and there is urgent need for advanced therapies to treat it, which this collaboration aims to address. MARV infections cause severe and often fatal illness. The development of an antibody offers a promising route for treatment. In this case, by reducing fucose levels in the antibody's glycan structure, ProBioGen’s GlymaxX technology can enhance the antibody’s effector functions, which can potentially improve its overall efficacy against MARV infection.


The project is being funded in whole or in part by federal funds from the US Department of Health and Human Services, the Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response, Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), under contract number 75A50122C00076 (1).

"We are pleased to partner with ProBioGen to develop a cell line to produce our afucosylated antibody to treat MARV infection," said Ronald Aimes, vice-president, Development—Marburg, Mapp Biopharmaceutical, in the press release. "This collaboration exemplifies our shared commitment to addressing unmet medical needs and underscores the potential of combining our capabilities to deliver innovative and impactful biopharmaceutical solutions for infectious diseases."

Mapp Biopharmaceutical specializes in the infectious disease space within the biopharma industry. The company has received funding from BARDA to advance the development of MBP091, a single monoclonal antibody (mAb) therapeutic for treating Marburg virus disease. This would be the first mAb therapy to specifically treat MARV infections, according to the company in the press release.


1. HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR). 75A50122C00076 Definitive Contract. (accessed March 15, 2024).

Source: ProBioGen