Believing in Brazil's competences
The idea of creating a biotechnology company in Brazil to develop and test new biological molecules with potential efficacy in cancer therapy was conceived when José Fernando Perez and leaders of the Ludwig Cancer Research (LCR) Institute identified a set of significant competitive advantages that the country offers to enterprises based on scientific and technological knowledge, particularly in the drug development area.
Motivated by this evaluation, Perez and LCR formalized an agreement for the deployment of ReceptaBio in Brazil to be prepared, as of April 2005, with the objective of researching, developing and performing clinical tests with monoclonal antibodies (mAbs, in the acronym in English) and peptides, to be used in the therapy of cancer patients. Under the terms of this agreement, Perez would be responsible for leading this venture, identifying the necessary scientific and technological competencies and attracting investments for its funding. On the other hand, the LCR would contribute with the licensing of the intellectual property of some mAbs that LCR scientists have shown to be potentially effective in treating some tumors and transferring scientific and technological knowledge to research and development activities.
Sharing this same view, angel investors have partnered with Perez and the LCR for the constitution of ReceptaBio.
A competent team was then set up and an innovative model was implemented with the establishment of a network of partner institutions formed by centers of excellence in R&D, including hospital centers, conducting R&D activities in an integrated manner.
The following R&D activities have already been or are being performed by ReceptaBio:
Identification of new targets and generation of respective antibodies: initially, ReceptaBio researchers worked at the Ludwig Cancer Research Institute São Paulo affiliate, in collaboration with scientists from this institution. Later, ReceptaBio started conducting this research in partnership with national and international institutions.
Generation of stable and high productivity cell lines for the production of monoclonal antibodies. Initially, ReceptaBio researchers worked at the Monoclonal Antibodies Laboratory of the Butantan Institute, in collaboration with scientists from this institution.
Immunohistochemistry assays for the determination of the reactivity of antibodies with several types of tumor: performed by ReceptaBio researchers, working in partnership with the Medical Investigations Laboratory 14 (LIM14) of the Medical School Foundation of University of São Paulo (USP), in collaboration with scientists from this institution.
Design and assessment of peptides with properties that affect the function of tumorigenic cells and modulate the immune system: a project carried out by ReceptaBio researchers, in the Department of Microbiology, Immunobiology and Parasitology, Unit of Experimental Oncology, of São Paulo Federal University (DMIP-UNIFESP) and the Department of Immunology at the Biomedical Sciences Institute of University of São Paulo (ICB-USP) in collaboration with scientists from this institution.
Conducting clinical trials to test the therapeutic safety and efficacy of the molecules.
Management and conduction of clinical trials in excellence hospital centers spread through several regions of Brazil - Southeast, South, Northeast and Central West - with coordination of ReceptaBio clinical trials staff, along with other partners selected by ReceptaBio.
ReceptaBio is still a pre-operating company that relies on the resources of its shareholders to fund its programs. Additionally, one of ReceptaBio's important funding mechanisms has been resources from government agencies for innovation fostering. The company has been successful in participating of several programs that offer non-reimbursable resources, in particular from the following agencies:
a) Studies and Projects Financier (FINEP), in programs funded by the Ministry of Science and Technology and the Ministry of Health;
b) São Paulo Foundation for Research Support (FAPESP); and
c) National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq).
In recognition of ReceptaBio programs’ strategic importance, in 2012 the National Bank for Social and Economic Development (BNDES), through its subsidiary BNDESPar, approved the investment of BRL 28.9 million for the acquisition of ReceptaBio equity stake. In 2016, FINEP also became a ReceptaBio shareholder with a contribution of BRL 30 million through Fundo de Investimentos em Participações Inova Empresa.