ROCK® Platform

Affimed’s fit-for-purpose ROCK® platform allows innate cell engagers to be designed for specific patient populations

Our fit-for-purpose ROCK® platform with its versatile features enables generation of multi-specific antibodies with appropriate properties for tailored treatment including half-life, tissue distribution and optimal tumor and immune cell targeting.

This allows us to tailor our immune cell engagers to specific indications and patient settings. These molecules are designed to activate both innate and adaptive immunity to fight cancer.

Immune cell engagement

The immune system is our body’s defense mechanism. With its two components, innate and adaptive immunity, it recognizes and fights thousands of foreign and abnormally altered cells every day. In the initial stages of cancer, there is a balance between abnormally dividing tumor cells and the immune response. But tumor cells learn how to disguise themselves from the immune system. This tips the balance and allows the tumor to grow. A tremendous amount of research has been done to fight cancer and several treatments have been developed. Unfortunately these often fail to provide a long-term benefit or cure and can come with severe side effects.

At Affimed, we aim to overcome these limitations by reactivating the immune system. We teach it to recognize and fight the disguised tumor cells.

We have developed a novel antibody platform, the ROCK® platform. ROCK® stands for Redirected Optimized Cell Killing. Our ROCK®-based antibodies disable the tumors’ evasion mechanisms and trigger an integrated immune response mediated by both innate and adaptive immunity.

They are immune cell-engaging antibodies that activate immune cells and redirect them to the tumor. There, they establish a bridge between immune cells, enabling tumor cell killing.

Our antibodies have four variable domains for tetravalent binding. With two binding sites each, they can simultaneously bind both immune and tumor cell targets, increasing efficacy and specificity.

In clinical studies, our NK cell engager lead product candidate AFM13 hase already demonstrated a good safety profile and promising signs of therapeutic activity. Its safety profile makes AFM13 suitable for use in combination with other treatments. This offers a much higher chance to exploit the full therapeutic potential.

Immune cell engagers bind to immune cells and enable both the recognition of tumor cells and their redirection to these tumor cells by forming an immunological synapse. Immune cells then release perforins, creating pores in the tumor cell membrane through which granzymes enter the cell, triggering apoptosis and resulting in tumor cell death.

ROCK® (Redirected Optimized Cell Killing)

Affimed’s fit-for-purpose ROCK® platform enables the generation of first-in-class tetravalent, multi-specific immune cell engagers. This proprietary platform supports innate (NK and macrophages) and adaptive (T cells) drug development and, based on its modularity, allows for antibody engineering of highly customizable immune cell engagers tailored to different indications and settings. A prerequisite for redirected optimized cell killing enabling the development of effective therapies is the ability to utilize different antibody formats and immune effector cell types. Affimed’s ROCK® platform addresses this need.

ROCK®’s modularity is built on a toolbox of proprietary formats and long-standing engineering know-how: A combination of competencies essential for the construction of novel, potent and custom immune cell engagers.

Redirecting innate and adaptive immune cells with multi-specific antibodies to achieve optimized killing of malignant cells is a powerful novel approach for therapy of cancer patients.

Affimed has long-standing expertise in drug development of differentiated immune cell engagers and protein engineering, enabling the design of a novel class of tetravalent, multi-specific formats.

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