Ab Studio Inc

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August 6, 2018 Issue



Q&A with Yue Liu, CEO of Ab Studio Inc using Computer Aided Design and 3D Model Structures to Develop Novel Therapeutic Antibodies supporting Research and Drug Development via Services and Partnerships



Dr. Yue Liu

Chief Executive Officer


Ab Studio Inc


Interview conducted by:

Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor, CEOCFO Magazine, Published – August 6, 2018


CEOCFO: What is the concept behind Ab Studio, Inc?

Dr. Liu: We are a technology platform company developing novel therapeutic antibodies. We have very unique methodologies and technologies to develop the next generation of therapeutic antibodies. Based on computer aided design, we have developed three unique technology platforms: 1) “Imbalanced” bispecific antibody development platform 2) “Serial” internalizing antibody development platform and 3) “Catalytic” antibody development platform. Applying these platforms, we have designed several unique therapeutic antibodies and got encouraging in vitro and in vivo data on some of them. We look forward to applying these platforms to support the therapeutic antibody research and development field via collaboration and partnership.


CEOCFO: What is different about your approach?

Dr. Liu: I think the fundamental difference is: All our unique technology platforms are based on the combination of computer aided design and the traditional antibody discovery technologies. For example, our “imbalanced” bispecific antibody platform is a combination with computer aided design and traditional phage display technology, our “serial” internalizing antibody platform is a combination with computer aided design and traditional hybridoma or phage display technology. When optimizing an therapeutic antibody for better developability, computer aided design and routine antibody engineering works are combined et. al. We usually build up a 3D model structure from a given antibody sequence and design mutations on 3D structure surface to enable the optimized antibody to have better drug-ability and/or get new features for new functions.


CEOCFO: Are there particular applications or particular problems that you are addressing or can it be really for any condition?

Dr. Liu: First, I think our unique technology platforms fit in a gap between antibody discovery and therapeutic antibody development. There are many, many technology platforms or companies that can make antibodies with very good functions. However, to make an antibody drug, one has to balance safety, efficacy and developability of the antibody drug candidate. By doing computational design to optimize the antibody sequence developed from the traditional technologies like hybridoma and phage display, we can optimize the sequence for better safety and efficacy balance, as well as improve the developablility of that antibody sequence. Furthermore, aided by computational design, we are able to develop novel therapeutic antibodies with new features. For example, an “imbalanced” bispecific antibody with two arms have very different binding affinity to its own antigens. When one of the antigen is a cancer specific antigen (CSA), the other antigen is CD3 on T cells, high affinity on CSA and low affinity on CD3 could reduce cytokine storm thus improve safety of the bispecific antibody while still maintain its tumor killing efficacy. We have designed two “imbalanced” bispecific antibodies and both of them showed good safety, efficacy, developability balance in vitro and one of them also showed good efficacy in animal model study. Therefore, we think our technologies can be applied for both general needs (such as antibody sequence optimization) and special needs (such as differentiating the binding affinity of two arms of an “imbalanced” bispecific antibody).


CEOCFO: Is it unusual to assess the possibility of development when you are looking at an antibody?

Dr. Liu: I think that the gap is once you screen an antibody from hybridoma technology or phage display technology, most screening assays is based on function of the antibody. However, function only represents efficacy of the antibody. What we try to do design are a set of novel sequences with improved developability (in silicon), prove the design with bench work then compare the efficacy of the designed new antibodies for lead selection.


CEOCFO: Who is turning to you for services? What types of companies?

Dr. Liu: For routine antibody humanization and optimization, we provide services. Most of our clients are small to middle scale therapeutic companies. For our unique technology platforms of which patent applications have been filed, we try to collaborate and partner with big Bio-pharmaceuticals


CEOCFO: How are you reaching out for new customers/partners?

Dr. Liu: Network, exhibition on scientific meetings and self-introduction on company website.


CEOCFO: How do you stand out at a conference or a meeting when everybody is looking for attention?

Dr. Liu: I think there are two ways. First, we rent a booth, so we would have a booth in the exhibition hall where everyone there will pass by. Secondary, we submit abstract for oral presentation or poster.


CEOCFO: How is business?

Dr. Liu: Business is going very well so far. However, I think it is because there are unmet needs on the market and our technology platforms are novel and practical.  


CEOCFO: What surprised you as Ab Studio has grown and evolved? What might have changed in your approach since you first started?

Ms. Liu: We started by providing services because we want to be recognized in the field that we can develop therapeutic antibodies with good safety, efficacy and developability balance, so people would know that we have very good technologies. Then on top of that, we are developing novel therapeutic antibodies with patented new technologies and looking for partnerships opportunities and licensing out opportunities for co-development.


CEOCFO: Why should people pay attention to Ab Studio, Inc? Why is the company important? 

Dr. Liu: I think the company is important because 1) we fill a gap between antibody discovery and therapeutic antibody manufacture. Biologists usually care about the mechanism of action (MOA) of an antibody more than its “drug-ability”. MOA is very important and is the foundation of every therapy. However, in order to “convert” an antibody from a research antibody to a therapeutic drug, there is a long way to go. Our technology can help shorten that path. 2) our patented novel technology platforms can be applied to develop novel antibodies with new features difficult to get with other methodologies, thus to match the unmet clinical needs better.



“We fill a gap between antibody discovery and therapeutic antibody manufacture.”- Dr. Yue Liu


Ab Studio Inc



Yue Liu








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