|arGentis Continues To Expand|
|Sunday, 22 November 2009 17:02|
But arGentis grew its drug-development pipeline this month with the acquisition of the rights to a rheumatoid arthritis therapy from the University of Tennessee Research Foundation - the terms of which, were not disclosed. The treatment was developed at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis by Dr. Arnold Postlethwaite, chief of the university's division of rheumatology.
The therapy helps to suppress the immune system's automatic response to certain collagens that collects around inflamed, arthritic joints. "This therapy tells the body that this collagen is not quite the same and makes the body accept it," Davis said. "It will stop the body from attacking the joints themselves and doing all the damage."
Rheumatoid arthritis affected 1.3 million Americans in 2005, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but arGentis figures put that total closer to 3 million people today.
The company now owns the rights to three therapies. ARG 101 is a treatment for dry-eye syndrome. ARG 201 is a treatment for Systemic Scleroderma, which was also invented by Postlethwaite. ARG 301, the rheumatoid arthritis treatment, is different from the first two in that it has not yet been tested in humans.
But Ted Townsend, arGentis vice president for business development, said the company's relationship with Postlethwaite made them comfortable to proceed with its development.
"You definitely have companies that build relationships with researchers over time and we're working to turn that into more licenses over time," said Richard Magid, UTRF vice president. "There is certainly a significant amount of researchers that have long-standing research collaborations with the private sector."
The company is readying the drug for a phase one clinical trial at UTHSC and the Memphis Veterans Medical Center.
Link to the original article by Sells, T. on The Commercial Appeal here.