Medgenics recently announced a partnership with Kyowa Hakko Kirin to develop and commercialize the company’s first-in-class anti-LIGHT monoclonal antibody for severe pediatric onset inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
Plans are in the works to begin signal testing in children with the condition. Testing will occur through a joint venture that includes Dr. Robert Baldassano, Director of the Center for Pediatric IBD at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP).
Children with IBD and other autoimmune related diseases can carry mutations that lead to function loss of the immune protein decoy receptor 3 (DcR3). The molecule inhibits inflammation by binding to pro-inflammatory proteins, like LIGHT (ligand for herpesvirus entry mediator); a major contributor to chronic IBD and other related autoimmune diseases.
The anti-LIGHT works as a substitute for DcR3. The potential therapeutic agent for children with IBD helps control inflammation.
“IBD is a distinct and severe genetic disease in children, with very limited treatment options available. I am pleased to see Medgenics and Kyowa Hakko Kirin come together to advance the development of this program,” Baldassano said in a press release.
The companies maintain that the anti-LIGHT monoclonal antibody can become a valuable first-in-class biological therapy for severe pediatric onset IBD, especially in patients who fail to respond or develop resistance to anti-TNFa antibodies.
It is estimated that more than 50,000 pediatric patients in the United States suffer with IBD; up to 16,000 of them fail anti-TNFa therapy. It is expected that 2,000 – 3,000 pediatric IBD patients will be eligible for anti-LIGHT monoclonal antibody therapy.
Mike Cola, CEO for Medgenics, said the company is pleased to partner withKyowa Hakko Kirin and work with CHOP.
“This novel opportunity is a further example of the capability of the Medgenics’ genomic medicine platform to accelerate impactful therapies into the clinic,” Cola said.
Yoichi Sato, who wears many hats for Kyowa Hakko Kirin including vice president and head of the Research and Development Division, said the agreement supports a new era of genomic medicine.
Dr. Bryan Wolf, the chief scientific officer at CHOP, said the deal highlights CHOP’s unique capacity for genetic discovery and the hospital’s ability to collaborate with industry leaders for the sake of all children.
“This transaction with Kyowa Hakko Kirin and Medgenics exemplifies our mission at CHOP to bring science from bench to bedside,” Wolf said.