F-star Announces Collaborative Agreement with Denali Therapeutics

for the Development of a Multispecific Antibody Platform to Deliver Therapeutics Across the Blood-Brain Barrier

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Cambridge, UK and South San Francisco, USA – 25 August 2016 – F-star, a biopharmaceutical company developing novel bispecific antibodies, announces a collaborative agreement with Denali Therapeutics Inc. (Denali), a biotechnology company focused on neurodegenerative disorders, to research and develop antibodies for the delivery of medicines across the blood-brain barrier (BBB) into the central nervous system (CNS).

The collaboration will leverage F-star’s Modular Antibody TechnologyTM and Denali’s expertise in the development of therapeutics for neurological diseases to generate FcabsTM (constant Fc-domains with antigen-binding activity) which can bind to transporters in the BBB. Using the “plug-and-play” properties of the platform, these Fcabs can be rapidly inserted into any existing antibody to generate a full size bispecific antibody (mAb² TM) which can both cross the BBB, as well as bind to specific targets within the CNS. This mechanism has the potential to treat neurological diseases by acting on specific targets in the brain.

The agreement is with F-star Gamma Limited (F-star Gamma), a new Asset-Centric Vehicle in the F-star family. Under the agreement, Denali will make upfront payments to F-star totalling $6 million. Denali has the option to nominate a pre-specified number of Fcab targets. F-star Gamma will also receive research funding and is eligible for technical milestone payments. In addition, Denali also has the option to acquire F-star Gamma prior to the initiation of the first Phase 1 clinical trial in return for aggregate exercise and milestone payments to the F-star Gamma shareholders of up to $450M in total. If Denali does not exercise the option to acquire F-star Gamma, it has the right to license a pre-specified number of mAb² based on each Fcab generated by F-star Gamma, in return for license fees, development, regulatory and commercial milestones payments with a potential aggregate value of $1B and tiered royalties on product sales.

John Haurum, CEO of F-star, commented: “Our Modular Antibody Technology is ideally suited to deliver biologic drugs into the Central Nervous System across the blood-brain barrier. Denali’s scientists are world leaders in understanding the complex mechanisms of the blood-brain barrier and we look forward to collaborating with the team to unlock the potential of our platform and develop more efficient treatments for neurological disorders.”

Ryan Watts, CEO of Denali, said: “We are excited to partner with F-star to tackle one of the toughest problems in medicine, delivery of biologics across the blood-brain barrier. F-star’s deep expertise and proven track record of engineering novel antibodies offer a promising approach for the treatment of neurological disease.”


For further information, please contact:


John Haurum

Chief Executive Officer

+ 44 7881 244 040


Jane Dancer

Chief Business Officer

+ 44 7739 174 297


Hume Brophy for F-star

Mary Clark, Eva Haas, Alexia Faure

+44 207 862 6381


Go to the profile of F-star


F-star Biotechnology Ltd is an immuno-oncology focused biopharmaceutical company dedicated to developing novel bispecific antibody products that significantly improve the standard of care for patients.

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