CAMBRIDGE, Mass., March 5, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — AnTolRx, Inc., a private biotechnology company and a leader in immune tolerance, today announced that Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) has exercised the option granted under a June 2016 agreement to license an immune tolerance therapy from AnTolRx’s Type 1 diabetes research program.
The option gives Pfizer exclusive rights to pursue development of AnTolRx’s lead immunotherapeutic for Type 1 diabetes. Pfizer will be responsible for any further optimization, development and potential commercialization. AnTolRx will receive an upfront payment and is eligible to receive potential milestone and royalty payments from Pfizer.
AnTolRx is aiming to develop targeted antigen-specific therapies, based upon immune tolerance induction rather than broader immune suppression, for several inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.
“We are delighted to confirm that the discovery phase of the program at AnTolRx has transitioned successfully to Pfizer for further development of our antigen-specific immunotherapy for Type 1 diabetes,” said Mark Carthy, CEO of AnTolRx.
AnTolRx is focused on building on the pioneering immunoregulatory research of Francisco Quintana, a professor of neurology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, as well as the company’s scientific founder and Chief Scientific Advisor.
“This agreement with Pfizer supports the industry’s mounting interest in developing therapeutics based upon antigen-specific tolerance and underscores its potential to deliver innovative new medicines for patients with immunological diseases,” said Professor Quintana.
Michael Vincent, Senior Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer, Inflammation & Immunology, Pfizer said, “At Pfizer’s Immunology and Inflammation Research Unit, our ultimate goal is to advance potential cures for autoimmune disease, and we see AnTolRx’s approach to re-educate the immune response as one potentially promising strategy to achieve that goal for patients.”
JDRF, the world’s leading funder of Type 1 diabetes research and long-time supporter of Quintana’s work, applauded the transition. “There is an urgent need for disease-modifying Type 1 diabetes immunotherapies to slow down the autoimmune process and delay or block progression to symptomatic insulin-dependent diabetes,” said JDRF President and CEO Derek Rapp.
“The AnTolRx story is an excellent example of a research foundation, an academic institution, a biotech company and a major pharmaceutical company working together to advance promising translational research with the hope that it can potentially deliver key breakthroughs for the Type 1 diabetes community,” Rapp said.
T1D is a chronic, life-threatening autoimmune disease that can strike children and adults at any age. It requires rigorous 24/7 monitoring of blood glucose levels—even overnight—to avoid potentially lethal highs and lows in blood sugar, as well as other devastating complications like kidney, eye and nerve diseases. While T1D’s causes are not yet entirely understood, scientists believe that both genetic factors and environmental triggers are involved. Its onset is sudden and is not related to diet or lifestyle. In T1D, the body’s immune system destroys cells in the pancreas that produce insulin, meaning the body produces little to no insulin to regulate blood sugar and get energy from food. There is nothing you can do to prevent T1D, and—at present—nothing you can do to get rid of it.
AnTolRx is a Cambridge, Mass.-based research and development biotechnology company focused on immune tolerance with active programs in Type 1 Diabetes, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Celiac Disease, and various dermatology diseases including Pemphigus Vulgaris. AnTolRx’s antigen-specific immune tolerance technology also has potential to block immune responses to foreign proteins, certain therapeutic recombinant proteins and viral gene therapy products. AnTolRx’s proprietary formulation co-delivers an immunomodulatory aryl hydrocarbon receptor agonist with specific antigens to generate disease specific Tregs to treat immunological disorders. The AnTolRx technology expects to overcome safety concerns of products that generate general immune suppression. AnTolRx expects to nominate candidates to treat additional immune disorders in 2019. AnTolRx, Inc. was founded in 2016 by Professor Francisco Quintana, Dr. Satish Jindal and Mark Carthy with initial equity investment from Pfizer Inc., JDRF International and Orion Equity Partners, LLC.
JDRF is the leading global organization funding type 1 diabetes (T1D) research. Our mission is to accelerate life-changing breakthroughs to cure, prevent and treat T1D and its complications. To accomplish this, JDRF has invested more than $2 billion in research funding since our inception. We are an organization built on a grassroots model of people connecting in their local communities, collaborating regionally for efficiency and broader fundraising impact, and uniting on a national stage to pool resources, passion, and energy. We collaborate with academic institutions, policymakers, and corporate and industry partners to develop and deliver a pipeline of innovative therapies to people living with T1D. Our staff and volunteers throughout the United States and our six international affiliates are dedicated to advocacy, community engagement and our vision of a world without T1D. For more information, please visit jdrf.org or follow us on Twitter: @JDRF .
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