CalciMedica signed two separate licensing deals related to key signaling mechanisms in immune cells. The CBR Institute for Biomedical Research (CBRI) granted the company exclusive rights to technologies, including Orai1, the calcium-release activated calcium (CRAC) channel. The CRAC channel is essential for T-cell activity and has been recognized as a valid drug target for immunosuppression.
CalciMedica also acquired TorreyPines Therapeutics’ intellectual property and equipment assets, which includes a patent application describing assays and uses of STIM1 for regulating CRAC channels. The company reports that it also obtained several preclinical compounds that inhibit CRAC channels and block the immune response. TorreyPines will receive CalciMedica common stock as well as potential future sublicensing, milestone, and royalty payments.
"STIM1 and Orai1 function together as gatekeepers of an essential pathway for immune cell function,” Gonul Velicelebi, Ph.D, president and CEO of CalciMedica, points out. “CalciMedica is targeting CRAC channels to discover novel small molecule immunosuppressants, with the goal of advancing safe and effective new drugs into clinical development.
"CalciMedica has taken a major step forward in its development by licensing the CBRI technology, which includes promising new molecular targets implicated in a broad range of autoimmune and inflammatory diseases," he adds.