LEYDE, Netherlands, January 11, 2022 / PRNewswire / – Amarna Therapeutics, a private biotechnology company developing transformative gene therapies in a range of rare and widespread diseases, today announced that Amarna and its Swedish CRO partner Redoxis received a EUR 0.8 million grant from EUREKA Eurostars for their joint project ALPHAVAC. The project aims to develop a in vivo Screening platform for the identification and validation of key autoantigens in a range of neurodegenerative diseases (MND). The results, initially targeting amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), will then be used to develop innovative gene therapy approaches, based on Amarna’s exclusive SVec viral vector platform.
ALS and other DNDs including Alzheimer’s disease (AD), Parkinson’s disease (PD) and multiple sclerosis (MS) are having a dramatic impact on society due to their high incidence, mortality and their severely debilitating nature. To date, few disease-modifying therapeutic interventions have become available, and an urgent medical need remains to develop safe and effective treatments for patients suffering from this devastating group of diseases.
The ALPHAVAC project
A growing body of scientific evidence indicates that components of the immune system are the primary drivers of NDD disease progression. In the ALPHAVAC project, Amarna and Redoxis will develop an Alphavirus-based screening platform, AlphaSelect, to identify and validate the therapeutic potential of specific autoantigens in NDDs. The AlphaSelect platform will initially be used by Redoxis to develop an inducible animal model of ALS, representative of the disease in humans. Subsequently, Amarna will use the model of inducible ALS in tolerization experiments to validate therapeutic targets for the development of an effective SVec-based gene therapy for ALS. The Eurostars project complements Amarna’s R&D pipeline of selected autoimmune programs that already include MS and type 1 diabetes mellitus (DM1).
Steen Klysner, CEO of Amarna Therapeutics commented:
“We are very pleased that our approach to neurodegenerative diseases, exemplified here by ALS, has been recognized and awarded a Eurostars grant, and we are now looking forward to launching the project with Redoxis.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a devastating and fatal neurodegenerative disease associated with muscle weakness, paralysis and, ultimately, respiratory failure. Most patients die within five years of diagnosis. By analogy with other NDDs, to date, no effective treatment against ALS is available. There is growing evidence that ALS is a T cell-mediated autoimmune disease in which T cells attack and destroy motor neurons that express a specific autoantigen. The lack of validated therapeutic targets and representative animal models of human disease has hampered the development of effective therapies against ALS.
Eurostars is a European program that supports innovative SMEs and project partners (small and medium-sized enterprises, universities, research bodies and other types of organizations) by funding international collaborative R&D and innovation projects. Eurostars is managed by EUREKA, an intergovernmental network, and involves 37 countries.
Redoxis is a Swedish clinical research organization (CRO) with core expertise and focuses on preclinical drug development and efficacy evaluation in inflammatory and autoimmune disease models. With its roots in academic research, Redoxis keeps abreast of the latest research in immunology and continuously updates its portfolio of models. The company has several ongoing collaborations with university partners for model development and is a member of several EU-funded projects aimed at developing standardized models for autoimmune diseases.
More information on www.redoxis.com
About Amarna Therapeutics
Amarna Therapeutics is a privately held preclinical biotechnology company developing transformative and potentially curative gene therapies for a range of rare and widespread diseases. The company is a pioneer in the development of gene therapies with its SVec viral vector, based on simian virus 40 (SV40), a polyoma macaque virus to which humans are immunologically naive.
Amarna has created a proprietary production cell line (SuperVero) which, for the first time, makes it possible to produce SV40-derived vectors suitable for therapeutic use. The company’s fully integrated gene therapy platform combining SuperVero with its genetically engineered SVec viral vector is truly unique in its intrinsic ability to deliver transgenes without eliciting immune responses to the vector or the transgenic product.
Taking advantage of this “natural” non-immunogenicity characteristic of its human gene delivery system, Amarna is developing a broad portfolio of safe, effective and long-lasting gene therapies focused on genetic disorders, autoimmune diseases and chronic inflammation. Founded in 2008, Amarna’s head office is based in Leiden Bio Science Park, the Netherlands, with a research subsidiary located in Seville, Spain.
More information on www.amarnatherapeutics.com
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For more information, please contact:
Steen Klysner, CEO
E-mail: [email protected]
LifeSpring Communication in Life Sciences, Amsterdam
Phone. : +31 6 538 16 427
E-mail: [email protected]
SOURCE Amarna Therapeutics