• ENW-PPS TA funding for multidisciplinary project MAGNETIC on CXCR4

NWO has granted one of the Scientific public private partnership (PPS) Technology Area (TA) funds to Martine Smit (AIMMS, Vrije Universiteit, Division of Medicinal Chemistry) and collegues from Utrecht University (Wei Wu), the Amsterdam UMC (Arnon Kater) and the two SMEs QVQ (Raimond Heukers) and Argenx (Hans de Haard).

This public private partnership project is entitled MAGNETIC (Multimeric Antibody formats targeting GPCR NETworks in leukemic cells). In this multidisciplinairy multi-partner project (involving 3 PhD students), the MAGNETIC consortium taps on the complementary expertise of the partners to develop next-generation biopharmaceuticals targeting complexes of chemokine receptor CXCR4 in leukemia.

The MAGNETIC consortium will apply three approaches to target CXCR4 function in leukemia by: (i) targeting CXCR4 using different antibody formats (multi-meric/specific) (PhD 1), (ii) investigating the cellular consequences of CXCR4 complexes by mass spectrometry-based structural biology (PhD 2) and (iii) immunomodulation of CXCR4-overexpressing leukemic cells (PhD 3).

Partners in the MAGNETIC project are:

• Martine Smit, Marco Siderius (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam): GPCR biochemistry and signaling, nanobodies.

• Wei Wu, Albert Heck (Universiteit Utrecht): (phospho)proteomics, structural biology. • Arnon Kater, Sanne Tonino (Amsterdam UMC): chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

• Raimond Heukers, Edward Dolk (QVQ Holding BV): CXCR4 targeting single domain antibody fragments (VHH).

• Hans de Haard, Vladimir Bobkov, Bas van de Woning (argenx BVBA): CXCR4 targeting antibody formats.