Amarna to develop immunotherapies
02.07.2015 - Dutch biotech Amarna and Austrian Biomarker research centre CBmed have joined forces to develop several immunotherapies, including therapies against cancer and diabetes type 2. The joint venture will develop Amarna’s next generation viral vector platform.
Amarna Therapeutics is the latest biotech to move into the development of immunotherapies, which hold great potential for the treatment of a wide range of diseases, including cancer. Founded in 2008, the Leiden-based biotech has entered into a cooperation with Austrian Center for Biomarker Research in Medicine (CBmed). The objective of the collaboration is to develop and test Amarna’s viral gene delivery vector platform SVac for its capacity to modulate immune responses in humans with the final aim to develop efficient treatment options for many disease areas, including acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, obesity, diabetes mellitus type 2 and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.
The agreement includes the design, development and testing in two separate projects of a CAR T cell therapy and reverse vaccines for the treatment of these diseases with high unmet clinical needs. CAR T therapies boost the immune system of cancer patients by genetically engineering the patient’s T cells to produce special receptors on their surface. These receptors are proteins called chimeric antigen receptors (CARs), which allow the T cells to recognise antigens on tumour cells. Reverse vaccines reduce levels of immune cells believed responsible for certain types of degenerative diseases e.g. diabetes type 2. Amarna, which has its research facility in Seville Spain, will contribute its SVac platform to the collaboration, and CBmed will perform in vitro and in vivo preclinical R&D and develop immunological assays in its core laboratory.
"Biomarkers play a crucial role in the development of new therapeutic and preventive agents. This cooperation is a wonderful opportunity for CBmed to investigate novel biomarkers alongside the identification of new therapeutic targets,” commented Thomas Pieber, Chief Scientific Officer of CBmed.
The financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed.