Eugene Chan, MD, Chairman & Co-Founder & of Abpro – Interview Series


Eugene Chan, MD, is the Chairman & Co-Founder & of Abpro, an organization with a mission to improve the lives of mankind facing severe and life-threatening diseases with next-generation antibody therapies.

What initially attracted you to the sphere of genomics?

DNA is easy, it’s 4 letters, but when stringed together, it’s beautiful and defines life. I started my profession at the top of the Human Genome Project (HGP), which was one in every of the most important collaborative biological projects up to now. In response to the NIH, the project was considered humankind’s first effort to completely decipher the sequences of the human genome. The interdisciplinary approach to the project was inspiring and invigorating and showed me an entire latest world of potential drug targets that will allow us to discover and quantify DNA and RNA with a view to profit patients facing severe diseases.

While in your early 20s you founded your first company US Genomics, a high-speed gene sequencing company focused on identifying and quantifying DNA, RNA, and proteins in complex samples. What were among the key lessons that you just learned from this experience?

Picking the appropriate problem may be very necessary. On the time that we founded US Genomics, DNA sequencing was the appropriate problem to unravel at the appropriate time; I’m incredibly proud to say that US Genomics had a hand in kickstarting a latest field. The HGP primed the scientific community to give you the chance to see beyond how we previously targeted severe diseases and evolve to the subsequent level of biotechnology.

What we did in our early 20s still astounds me – we picked the appropriate problem, created the appropriate solution, but just lacked the appropriate backers who could move a whole field. I always confer with the teachings I learned in founding US Genomics within the business decisions we make today at Abpro. Abpro has fastidiously chosen outside investors who’ve the need to back great science and to make a difference in patient’s lives.  I might say we take a comparatively conservative approach in our business development by specializing in the efficiency of our operation and efficacy of our treatments.

Could you share the genesis story behind Abpro?

Cancer therapies have only in the near past began evolving to be simpler and fewer strenuous on our bodies.  My mother had a battle with breast cancer.  She won, but she’s lucky since it got detected early.  There are a lot of others who may benefit from significantly better therapies, especially if the disease just isn’t picked up instantly. Patients with severe illnesses were still receiving treatments that were strenuous and never all the time highly effective.

Abpro’s goal is to make use of monoclonal antibodies to generate treatments against traditionally difficult targets and our mission is to enhance the lives of people facing severe and life-threatening disease. Powerful antibodies are traditionally slow to make, but at Abpro, we all know that speed is important for those fighting off illness. If there are more powerful tools to make these treatments more quickly and with higher potency, then we are able to unlock nature’s natural approach to fighting disease more effectively.

Why did you select to deal with antibodies versus other potential treatment options?

Antibodies could be utilized in a wide selection of indications – not only cancer. Presently, we’re generating monoclonal antibody therapies for use to treat breast, gastric, and liver cancers, infectious diseases, and wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) or diabetic macular edema (DME). Utilizing one of these therapy allows us to meet our mission to succeed in more patients scuffling with severe diseases. Moreover, and importantly, our body already has antibodies, making   monoclonal antibody therapies safer and more flexible than other treatments.

Abpro draws from quite a lot of different antibody formats to decide on the one which most accurately fits the disease and mechanism currently being targeted. Our unique DiversImmune™ platform enables us to generate antibodies against traditionally difficult targets using antibody constructing blocks.

Could you share some insight on how your approach reduces the timeframe for bringing drugs to the market?

Abpro’s approach takes one of the best of our body’s immune system and merges it with AI for goal selection, allowing our team to quickly predict which antibody will likely be efficacious towards which disease.

Infectious disease is on the radar for Abpro, could you discuss among the diseases that Abpro is tackling?

In 2020, we saw a have to bolster the arsenal of treatments available for Covid-19. Despite vaccines being accessible to most of the people and antiviral treatments being widely administered for people who contract the virus, we understood that we would wish more varieties of treatments to maintain up with the ever-mutating virus and help protect the immunocompromised population against the pandemic. The monoclonal antibody cocktail, ABP-C19-002, uses AI technology to assist predict the evolution of the spike proteins of the virus – making it a future-proofed treatment and primed to handle the subsequent phase of the virus.

Presently, we’ve been rapidly advancing our monoclonal antibody treatment for use as a pre-exposure prophylactic given the big need. Abpro’s cocktail has the potential to be within the clinic in 2023, pending achieving regulatory and clinical milestones.

How does Abpro leverage the human immune system to focus on cancer?

We’ve bispecific antibodies that activate CD3 on T-cells and brings them in close proximity to cancer cells for cytotoxic cell killing. We’ve a protected, tuned approach to doing it and we have now very specific antibodies that tickle the immune system, bringing T-cells involved with only cancerous cells.  This tuned approach allows us to attenuate the negative effects of T-cell engagers while letting the body’s immune system attack deadly cancer cells.

What are some ways in which machine learning is applied in Abpro?

We’re leveraging machine learning, structural predication, and in-silico mutational evaluation to rapidly predict the trail of Sars-Cov-2 mutations. This enables us to confirm targets and approaches way quicker than running wet lab experiments.

Could you discuss the DiversImmune platform, and the way it enables the generation of novel antibodies and antibody therapies?

Abpro’s unique DiversImmune™ platform enables them to generate antibodies against traditionally difficult targets using antibody constructing blocks. Each disease area, whether that be cancer, infectious disease, or ophthalmology diseases, has unique and specific treatment requirements. We’re capable of arrange and rearrange these monoclonal antibodies to treat the specifications of every indication. The platform can be front-end loaded with powerful AI and a rapid approach to generating actual, physical antibodies. These are paired together to merge in silico predictions with reality to permit us to quickly find drugs.

Is there the rest that you want to to share about Abpro?

Abpro’s history is as necessary as its future – we saw with the HGP that collaboration across scientific centers will likely be incredibly necessary to the success of the project, and we’re doing the identical thing at Abpro. The long run of drug discovery is a merger between AI technology and biology – I’m incredibly proud that the Abpro team is at the forefront of that right away.


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