The Burlingame, California-based company announced Monday that it has received an exclusive licensing agreement from the University of Zurich in Switzerland to utilize its GM-CSF protein neutralization technology.
The agreement is a boon to Humanigen's development of a treatment called allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell therapy, which uses donor T cells to combat blood cancers in a process known as graft-versus-leukemia.
The problem is that the donor cells can also destroy healthy tissue by producing the protein GM-CSF, resulting in graft-versus host disease, which kills 50% of patients who contract it.
That’s where the University of Zurich’s neutralization technology comes into play. A recent article in the journal of Science Translational Medicine demonstrated that negating the GM-CSF protein can cut down the harmful graft-versus-host while preserving the helpful graft-versus-leukemia.
The discovery significantly expands Humanigen’s intellectual property portfolio in preventing graft-versus-host disease.
“Humanigen has pioneered the strategy of neutralizing GM-CSF to improve the safety and efficacy of T cell therapies,” CEO Cameron Durrant said. “This license agreement builds on our leadership position aimed at breaking the efficacy/toxicity barrier that currently exists for T cell therapies, including allogeneic HSCT.”
The company's stock was flat Monday at $1.05.
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