Announcements, Blue Mountain

Mount Sinai School of Medicine and MRC Technology To Collaborate On Monoclonal Antibody Production and Humanization

April 3, 2012 – The Mount Sinai Medical Center and MRC Technology (MRCT), the technology transfer organization for the United Kingdom’s prestigious Medical Research Council, have reached an agreement to collaborate on the development of monoclonal antibodies that can be commercialized as drugs to control infection and treat diseases.  As a government institution, the MRC aims to improve human health through medical research in all major disease areas.

The agreement calls for MRC Technology to humanize mouse antibodies that are created by Mount Sinai’s Center for Therapeutic Antibody Discovery (CTAD). Through humanization, a mouse antibody’s molecular structure is altered to make it compatible for therapeutic use in humans without changing its binding specificity.

The two-year agreement with MRC Technology marks the first time Mount Sinai has entered into a collaboration of this kind.  To date, the collaboration between Mount Sinai and MRCT centers on monoclonal antibodies that can be used to control infections, and treat drug addiction and autoimmune disease.

“We are very excited to bring together MRC Technology’s expertise in antibody humanization with Mount Sinai’s distinguished antibody facility,” said Teri F. Willey, Vice President, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Technology and Business Development, “This unique cooperation puts us in a stronger position to impact development of new therapies, diagnostics, and biomedical research reagents.”

Dave Tapolczay, CEO of MRC Technology, said, “MRC Technology has a great deal of experience in antibody humanization, and has already successfully humanized the drugs Tysabri® and Actemra®. We are hopeful that this agreement with Mount Sinai will allow us to translate research more efficiently which will deliver much needed treatments to patients. Our dedicated antibody assessment team makes us well-placed to identify the best targets for development.”

Mount Sinai will make protein and antigens, and generate monoclonal antibodies against targets that have successfully been through MRCT’s antibody review process. MRCT reviews all targets at regular triage meetings throughout the year before selecting which targets should enter into development. MRCT acquires antibody targets from universities and charities around the world through its on-going Call for Targets campaign (

About MRC Technology

MRC Technology is the exclusive commercialization agent for the UK Medical Research Council (, working to translate cutting edge scientific discoveries into commercial products.

MRC Technology bridges the gap between innovative basic science and making medicine. MRC Technology works to provide drug-like candidate molecules to innovative new drug targets, and to translate innovative antibody-based drug targets into potent and selective therapeutic antibody candidates, giving pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies new starting points for drug discovery and development.

Scientists at MRCT’s Centre for Therapeutics Discovery have a proven track record of success in antibody engineering which extends over 20 years and has produced 10 clinical candidates and two humanized antibodies with regulatory approval: Elan/Biogen Idec’s Tysabri® and Chugai/Roche’s Actemra®.

About The Mount Sinai Office of Technology and Business Development

The Office of Technology and Business Development (OTBD), as part of The Mount Sinai School of Medicine (MSSM), facilitates the transfer of discovery from the laboratory to the marketplace, acting as the interface with commercial entities.
OTBD is responsible for the full spectrum of commercialization activities required to bring MSSM’s inventions to life. These activities include evaluating, patenting, marketing, and licensing new technologies, while also negotiating various agreements for sponsored research, material transfer, and confidentiality. Through Blue Mountain Technologies, OTBD also utilizes MSSM’s growing portfolio of molecular diagnostic reagents to assist partners with advancing research and commercialization.

OTBD facilitates industry relationships resulting in products to address patient needs (including  more than 15 technologies in preclinical or clinical development) and 11 companies based on MSSM technologies.

Mount Sinai, one of the largest creators of mouse antibodies in the New York metropolitan area, has recently created a program called Blue Mountain Technologies, led by Assistant Director, OTBD, and General Manager Felipe Araujo, PhD, MBA, which explores commercialization options for monoclonal antibodies and other tangible assets, including molecular diagnostic reagents. CTAD, led by Director Thomas Moran, PhD, and Blue Mountain are currently assembling a formal catalog with information on each of Mount Sinai’s monoclonal antibodies.

About The Mount Sinai Medical Center
The Mount Sinai Medical Center encompasses both The Mount Sinai Hospital and Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Established in 1968, Mount Sinai School of Medicine is one of the leading medical schools in the United States.  The Medical School is noted for innovation in education, biomedical research, clinical care delivery, and local and global community service.  It has more than 3,400 faculty in 32 departments and 14 research institutes, and ranks among the top 20 medical schools both in National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding and by US News and World Report.

The Mount Sinai Hospital, founded in 1852, is a 1,171-bed tertiary- and quaternary-care teaching facility and one of the nation’s oldest, largest and most-respected voluntary hospitals. In 2011, US News and World Report ranked The Mount Sinai Hospital 16th on its elite Honor Roll of the nation’s top hospitals based on reputation, safety, and other patient-care factors. Of the top 20 hospitals in the United States, Mount Sinai is one of 12 integrated academic medical centers whose medical school ranks among the top 20 in NIH funding and US News and World Report and whose hospital is on the US News and World Report Honor Roll.  Nearly 60,000 people were treated at Mount Sinai as inpatients last year, and approximately 560,000 outpatient visits took place.

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