Sydney scientists discover and license breakthrough anti-inflammatory treatment

Scientists from the Garvan Institute of Medical Research have developed what could be the next big blockbuster treatment for inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and asthma.

This discovery is being commercialised by G2 Therapies Ltd, a biotechnology company founded by Garvan, which today announced the signing of an AU$135 million research, development and licensing agreement with Danish healthcare company, Novo Nordisk. The terms of the agreement include an upfront payment and other success-based payments to a potential total of around US$100 million (A$135 million), plus royalties on commercialised therapeutics. The partnership will enable the new therapy to be taken through to human clinical trials.

Professor Charles Mackay, Head of Garvan's Arthritis & Inflammation Program and founder of G2 Therapies, says: "We have done what many others have been trying to do for years. We have made a therapeutic antibody against one of the most potent inflammatory agents in the body and used it to cure arthritis in mice. The next step is to translate the highly effective outcome we see in mice to human patients. If we can do this, we will have a revolutionary new treatment for a number of important human diseases".

The body needs a certain amount of inflammation to protect itself against disease. The hallmarks of inflammation reflect the major events: swelling of localised blood capillaries, and the movement of fluid and immune cells into damaged tissue in an effort to contain infection.

When immune cells become overactive, as is the case with rheumatoid arthritis, too many of them move into damaged tissue and exacerbate the condition. The new antibody blocks the action of one of the most important molecules for guiding inflammatory cells into tissue.

"We anticipate that our antibody will be a significant improvement over current therapies because it acts at a different and earlier point in the inflammatory process

Contact: Branwen Morgan
Research Australia

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