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The companies expanded their alliance to develop plasmid DNA drugs.
On June 26, 2017, Alma Bio Therapeutics and Delphi Genetics announced an expansion of their strategic alliance to develop plasmid DNA drugs. The companies have been collaborating since 2014 on generating a plasmid DNA drug for Alma’s preclinical efficacy studies. Under the terms of this alliance, Delphi Genetics will produce the plasmid DNA drugs needed to advance Alma’s pipeline and complete the regulatory studies necessary to submit an investigational new drug application.
Alma’s pipeline consists of a product family of plasmids DNA encoding heat shock proteins (HSP). HSPs are body molecules that serve as self-antigens to regulatory T-cells; they have been shown to possess pro-resolution activity. Pro-resolution therapies are sought-after in autoimmune disease treatments due to their ability to restore the balance between healthy cells (regulatory T-cells) and the rogue cells (pro-inflammatory effector T-cells) the immune system is designed to eliminate. Activating the immune system to better regulate itself would mark a significant improvement over the way autoimmune diseases are currently treated.
Alma’s first target is Crohn’s disease, a chronic debilitating autoimmune disease of the gastrointestinal tract and one of the two subtypes of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). IBD affects an estimated 3.5 million people in the United States and Europe. A second target is rheumatoid arthritis, the company said in a press release.
This partnership positions Alma to attract longer-term investment with the aim of preparing entry into a Phase I clinical trial for Crohn’s disease in the second half of 2018. It will gain access to Delphi Genetics’ bioproduction manufacturing capabilities, including Staby, its antibiotic-free plasmid DNA production technology.
Source: Alma Bio Therapeutics