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Finding the Opportunities in Aptamers

Executive Summary

The world is waking up to aptamers. With a few big deals and a small flock of products in the clinic, aptamers' boosters see the molecules largely replacing antibodies; they've got many of the advantages of both large and small molecules, plus the added advantage of speedy creation. But they still face major technological challenges-including high manufacturing costs, limited half-lives, and problems with intracellular targets. The three players whose strategies we profile here-Corgentech, Coley and Archemix--have all chosen to pursue opportunities with aptamers which avoid their biggest problems. But the solutions also limit these companies' abilities to fully exploit the aptamer platform.

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Archemix Reduces Aperture to Pursue Orphan Diseases

Archemix has consolidated IP in the aptamer space and enjoyed success in partnering its technology. But public markets have frozen the company out and it is now focusing on orphan hematologic diseases. The move should help the company conserve cash while creating earlier out-licensing opportunities as Archemix transitions into later-stage development.

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