UAB and Kriya Therapeutics sign licensing agreement to develop two gene therapies for type 1 diabetes

Fātima Bosch

The aim of the agreement is to launch into the market two new gene therapy treatments for type 1 diabetes developed by a research team from the Centre for Animal Biotechnology and Gene Therapy (CBATEG) of the UAB, led by Professor Fàtima Bosch.

08/09/2020

During these past years, UAB researchers have developed several therapeutic products based on a viral vector able to transfer therapeutic genes to the cells of diabetic patients safely and effectively. These advanced therapies are based on the administration of viral vectors carrying genes related to the control of glycaemia.

In animal models of diabetes, researchers have demonstrated a complete reversion of the disease, extending lifespan and normalizing their health status. This has been achieved with a single administration of the therapeutic product and the effects of such administration last forever. These results show the potential of this therapy in the clinical field.

“After these preclinical milestones, what is now necessary is an important investment in order to speed-up the drug development, a costly and complex process. Our group is very excited about the possibility that the Californian company Kriya Therapeutics might bring our results to the clinic. In addition, this agreement will enable offering the potential of the gene therapy to patients with highly prevalent diseases, such as type 1 diabetes”, said Dr Fàtima Bosch.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that destroys insulin producing cells in the pancreas and patients need to administer exogenous insulin for survival. Even so, patients develop very severe long-term secondary complications, such as blindness, kidney disease, neurological and cardiovascular problems. Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young individuals, representing the most common pediatric metabolic-endocrine pathology, although 1 in 4 cases is diagnosed in adults. In Spain there are approximately 90,000 cases of type 1 diabetes, while in the United States the total number is currently 1.3 million, with 40,000 new cases every year. This disease has a very high healthcare cost: in the United States, it represents about $14 billion/year. All of these facts demonstrate the need to develop new and more effective therapies.

The company Kriya Therapeutics is focused on designing and developing gene therapies for diseases affecting millions of patients, such as diabetes, expanding the field of gene therapy beyond rare monogenic disorders. “There have been numerous successful gene therapies focused on rare monogenic diseases in recent years. We see tremendous potential to expand the field and apply gene therapy to highly prevalent serious diseases”, said Shankar Ramaswamy, Co-Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Kriya Therapeutics.

The company recently raised $80.5 million in a Series A financing that will allow to support the development of Kriya’s pipeline. Part of this development is being done in collaboration with Dr Bosch's group at the UAB's CBATEG through scientific partnerships. Kriya considers strategic this alliance with Dr Bosch's group, given her international leadership in the field of gene therapy for metabolic diseases, which consolidates the value of this research programme that has been conducted at the UAB for more than two decades.

This information is related to the following SDG

  • Good health and well-being
 

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