Amarna Therapeutics uit Leiden gaat samenwerking met CBmed voor nieuwe gentherapieen

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De Leidse life sciences onderneming Amarna Therapeutics, die (humane) gentherapie en therapeutische vaccins ontwikkelt, is een samenwerkingsovereenkomst aangeggaan met het Oostenrijkse Center for Biomarker Research CBMed, in Graz. Samen zullen zij immunotherapeutische vaccins gaan ontwikkelen tegen aandoeningen waarvoor tot op heden nog geen afdoende behandeling voor handen is, zoals acute lymfatische leukemie (ALL), diabetes mellitus type 2 (DM2) en arteriosclerose, de belangrijkste oorzaak van cardiovasculaire aandoeningen, doodsoorzaak nummer één in de Westerse wereld.

Amarna heeft een gepatenteerd platform (het SVac viraal vector platform) ontwikkeld voor het veilig afleveren in het menselijk lichaam van genen die genetische defecten repareren of afweerreacties veranderen.

Amarna Therapeutics heeft een gepatenteerd platform (het SVac viraal vector platform) ontwikkeld voor het veilig afleveren in het menselijk lichaam van genen die genetische defecten repareren of afweerreacties veranderen.

Amarna maakt bekend een samenwerkingsovereenkomst te hebben gesloten met het Oostenrijkse Center for Biomarker Research CBMed, in Graz om samen immunotherapeutische vaccins te ontwikkelen tegen aandoeningen waarvoor tot op heden nog geen afdoende behandeling voor handen is, zoals acute lymfatische leukemie (ALL), diabetes mellitus type 2 (DM2) en arteriosclerose, de belangrijkste oorzaak van cardiovasculaire aandoeningen, doodsoorzaak nummer één in de Westerse wereld.

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amarnaAmarna Therapeutics teaming up with Austrian CBmed in the development of immunotherapies
Leiden, The Netherlands, Graz, Austria, June 26th 2015 – Dutch Amarna Therapeutics today announced that it has entered into a cooperation with the Austrian Center for Biomarker Research in Medicine (CBmed), for the development of immunotherapies against acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), obesity, diabetes mellitus type 2 (DM2) and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD). Amarna Therapeutics is a privately held Leiden based biotechnology company developing a next-generation viral vector platform that could play a key role in transforming treatment across many disease areas.

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 major diseases with high unmet clinical needs. Amarna will contribute its proprietary SVac viral gene delivery vector platform to this collaboration and CBmed will perform in-vitro and in-vivo preclinical R&D and develop cutting-edge immunological assays in its core laboratory.

Immunotherapies hold an enormous potential as novel treatment options for a wide range of diseases, including cancer and degenerative diseases such as obesity, DM2 and ASCVD. The objective of this collaboration is to test Amarna’s SVac vector platform for its capacity to modulate immune responses in humans with the final aim to develop efficient treatment options for cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

Ben van Leent, CEO of Amarna: “We are excited to extend our pipeline of products and launch activities in these important disease areas. We are convinced that the combination of the technology platform from Amarna Therapeutics and the scientific and medical expertise of CBmed will lead to the development of breakthrough solutions for a large group of immunity-associated diseases.”

Thomas Pieber, CSO of CBmed: “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 for the innovative treatment approaches of Amarna Therapeutics.”

CAR T-cell therapy
In CAR T-cell therapies, engineered chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) with specificity for a tumor-specific cell surface protein (tumor antigen) are transferred to CD8+ T cells sampled from cancer patients. The CD8+ T cells expressing the CARs will specifically target and destroy the patient’s tumor cells, thereby attempting to cure the patient from cancer. In this collaboration, an SVac vector encoding a CAR which is specific for CD19 and present on B-cells, will be tested for its efficacy to treat ALL as a proof-of-principle for SVac-based CAR T-cell therapies to treat cancer.

SVac-based reverse vaccines
Vaccines are routinely used to induce immune responses against pathogens to protect humans from pathogen infection. Reverse vaccines are used to stop existing immune responses in patients with degenerative diseases. Liver-specific expression of the self-protein (self-antigen) involved in autoimmune tissue destruction using a viral gene delivery vector is by far the most efficient way to stop an existing immune response against a specific self-antigen. Because of its non-immunogenicity in humans, Amarna’s SVac gene delivery platform is unique in its capacity to stop immune responses in patients and therefore it is ideally suited for the use in reverse vaccines to treat degenerative diseases.