Coulter Pharmaceutical, Inc. has entered into a license and research agreement with Yissum, the technology transfer company of Hebrew University, for technology, know-how and worldwide intellectual property rights relating to a novel approach to treating rheumatoid arthritis (RA). This new approach involves reducing RA joint inflammation by targeting the synovial cells responsible for infiltrating and inflaming joints.
Scientists led by Professor David Naor at Hebrew University discovered a novel variant of the CD44 cell surface marker located on synovial cells implicated in the disease process.
With this marker now identified, scientists can develop monoclonal antibodies which will target the variant CD44 marker on these synovial cells.
Under the research agreement, Coulter Pharmaceutical and Hebrew University are collaborating on the research and development of monoclonal antibodies against the CD44 variant.
“We are pleased to enter into this agreement with Hebrew University,” said Michael F. Bigham, president and CEO of Coulter.
“We believe their discovery of this new cell surface marker on synovial cells will lead to exciting new developments in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.
Our goal is to offer therapeutic alternatives which will address the pain and suffering of the many patients with this debilitating disease.”
Under the terms of the agreement, Coulter acquired exclusive worldwide rights to the variant CD44 invention of Hebrew University.
Additionally, Coulter will become the license holder of all technology and products developed under the collaborative research effort between Coulter and Hebrew University.
In return, Coulter has committed an undisclosed two year research grant as well as milestones and royalties associated with product developments.
Coulter Pharmaceutical, Inc. is engaged in the development of novel drugs and therapies for the treatment of cancer and autoimmune diseases.
The company currently is developing a family of therapeutics based upon two drug development programs: therapeutic antibodies and targeted oncologics.
The company’s most advanced product candidate is Bexxar, a monoclonal antibody conjugated to a radioisotope.
The company’s therapeutic antibodies program also includes an interferon receptor antagonist.
Initial efforts in the targeted oncologics program are based on tumour activated prodrug and specific-specific targeting technologies.