Specifica, a Santa Fe-based biotech startup focused on antibodies, announced on Thursday that it received two patents.
Chief scientific officer Andrew Bradbury told Business First that the patents secure a method of creating an antibody “library” — a collection of antibodies — as well as the libraries that are created. Antibodies are used in medicine and represent a potential market opportunity for companies that can discover new ones that are useful.
The startup was founded in 2016 by Bradbury, who said that founding a biotech company was “a dream of mine.”
“Our antibodies that come out of our libraries bind very tightly to their targets,” Bradbury said. “An antibody may have fantastic biological activity, it may bind very tightly. But then it may be really horrible and difficult to make… and that whole concept of [how easy] it is to take an antibody, to produce it, to concentrate it, inject it into patients, all that is tied up in a term ‘developability.’ And the developability of the antibodies coming out of our libraries is much better.”
The announcement of the patents comes about three months after OpenEye Scientific in Santa Fe and Specifica rolled out an antibody discovery module included in OpenEye Scientific’s Orion Antibody Discovery Suite, Business First reported. The combined software reportedly offers proprietary artificial intelligence methods to analyze data.
Specifica is intent on growing its headcount at the Rail Yards in Santa Fe, where the firm is headquartered. The startup previously received $68,490.48 in Job Training Incentive Program money, which is used to fund training for new jobs at expanding or relocating businesses, according to records from the New Mexico Economic Development Department.
Currently, Specifica employs 18 people and is hiring two more, said Bradbury, who added the company would like to expand its office presence in Santa Fe. Specifica has been funded from “antibody discovery contracts that we got right at the very beginning,” he said.
Bradbury leads the company with CEO Ken Sharples and chief technical officer Sara D’Angelo.
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