Industry-Sponsored Research Week

U Queensland enters partnership with biotech company to commercialize treatment for Sjogren’s syndrome


By David Schwartz
Published: July 21st, 2020

The University of Queensland and global biotechnology company CSL Limited are partnering to develop a potential new treatment for autoimmune disease Sjogren’s syndrome. UQ’s technology transfer company UniQuest signed an agreement with CSL to develop and commercialize UQ’s antigen specific immune tolerance induction (ASITI) technology for the treatment of the immune system disorder, and potentially other illnesses as well.

Lead researcher Ranjeny Thomas from UQ’s Diamantina Institute said the partnership marked a significant milestone for the technology. “The ASITI technology addresses the immunological cause of autoimmune disease,” Thomas said. “Our nanoparticle delivery system re-establishes disease-specific tolerance in patients, without impairing normal immunity and the ability to fight infections. 

The innovation stemmed from another project that used the university’s liposome-encapsulated antigen technology – called DEN-181 – to treat rheumatoid arthritis. “From that first clinical trial we learnt a lot about DEN-181 and its ability to modulate the immune system in a disease-specific manner and platform improvements, Thomas explained. “We are now applying this knowledge to the Sjogren’s syndrome program, as well as our unpartnered preclinical programs including for rheumatoid arthritis and Type 1 diabetes.”

UniQuest CEO Dr. Dean Moss said the partnership with CSL would build on UQ’s ongoing relationship with the global biotech company. “This partnership will bring together CSL’s expertise in the development of treatments for autoimmune diseases and UQ’s excellence in life sciences research, following two earlier research collaborations between the partners relating to immune modifying therapies,” Moss said.

“This ASITI platform technology has the potential to change the lives of those suffering from autoimmune diseases, and we hope it can be translated to other therapeutic programs including rheumatoid arthritis and type 1 diabetes.”

CSL senior vice president of research Dr. Andrew Nash said the program could lead to an entirely new approach to treating Sjogren’s syndrome. “This is another example of Australian research excellence, harnessing the strengths of both industry and academia to address an important area of unmet medical need,” he stated.

Source: UQ News

Posted under: University-Industry Engagement Week

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