BASEL, Switzerland – ( BUSINESS WIRE ) – Polyneuron Pharmaceuticals AG, a clinical-stage developer of a new class of antigen-specific polymers for the treatment of patients with severe autoimmune diseases, today announced that the company and collaborators at the University of Basel have received a grant from the Swiss Innovation Agency Innosuisse to support a project valued at 1.2 million Swiss francs. The project will promote the development of new injectable glycopolymers to support better outcomes in patients with ABO-incompatible transplants (ABOi). ABOi transplantation, a procedure for transplanting solid organs and stem cells without matching ABO blood groups, has been introduced to decrease recipient waiting time and strongly associated mortality. However, ABOi transplants require powerful immunosuppression to prevent transplant rejection caused by the recipient's antibodies (isoagglutinins), which can lead to serious infections. Procedures also require cumbersome and time-consuming plasmapheresis or immune apheresis, performed ahead of time in the hospital, to help remove harmful antibodies and reduce the burden of immunosuppressive medications.
The grant will be used to leverage Polyneuron's Antibody-Catch ™ platform to design new injectable glycopolymers that mimic blood group antigens to selectively remove relevant and specific antibodies. Polyneuron and colleagues at the University of Basel aim to optimize two antigen-specific glycopolymers for in vitro neutralization and selective antibody removal in a preclinical proof-of-concept model.
"Our Antibody-Catch ™ technology is designed to identify potential glycopolymer treatments that could help reduce the significant impact of strong immunosuppression and thereby reduce the increased post-transplant mortality seen with ABOi procedures," said Dr. Debra. Barker, CMO of Polyneuron. "With the Innosuisse grant, we will advance candidate glycopolymers to a preclinical proof of concept and, if successful, prepare them for further development."
Immunosuppressive treatment, before and after transplantation, as well as multiple rounds of plasmapheresis are a great burden for patients. Removal of isoagglutinins through the use of glycopolymers could improve patient outcomes and have a positive impact on quality of life for patients, ”said Dr. Rachel Hevey, Research Associate, Department of Molecular Pharmacy, Department of Science Pharmaceuticals of the University of Basel. "We believe that this novel approach, if successful, could also further improve the accessibility and feasibility of ABOi transplants in the future."
Antibody-mediated diseases are truly devastating, and most current treatments non-selectively suppress the immune system, often leading to serious side effects that significantly affect quality of life. Patients who undergo ABO-incompatible transplants suffer from life-threatening conditions, such as end-stage blood cell cancers or organ failure affecting the lungs, kidneys, liver, or heart. This implies that these patients are under strict treatment regimens for their primary diseases, which include serious adverse effects and comorbidities. Additionally, prior to receiving the life-saving transplant, patients will undergo additional cycles of plasmapheresis in combination with intense immunosuppression to deplete all harmful antibodies and allow the donor organ or stem cells to be grafted. Currently, most patients undergo five cycles of plasmapheresis before and several more after receiving the transplant. This process imposes a very high burden, as patients are hospitalized one week prior to major surgery. Additionally, each plasmapheresis generally requires 4-5 hour daily sessions, which is especially challenging for pediatric patients.
About Polyneuron Pharmaceuticals
Polyneuron Pharmaceuticals is pioneering a novel therapeutic approach for the effective and safe treatment of antibody-mediated immune diseases. The company's Antibody-Catch ™ technology platform enables the chemical engineering of injectable polymers that can selectively remove pathological antibodies in an antigen-specific manner, leaving the rest of the immune system intact. Polyneuron was founded as a spin-off of the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Basel in 2014 and is led by Dr. Ruben Herrendorff (CEO, co-founder), Dr. Pascal Hänggi (CSO, co-founder), Dr. Debra Barker ( CMO) and Aled Williams (CBO). The company is based in Stücki Park in Basel, Switzerland. More information can be found at http://www.polyneuron.com/.[19459006
This press release contains forward-looking statements that are based on current assumptions and forecasts of Polyneuron's management. Known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could result in material differences between the forward-looking statements made here and actual development, particularly the timing of clinical trials, the financial condition and performance of Polyneuron. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements, which only refer to the date of this communication. Polyneuron disclaims any intention or obligation to update and revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise.