SuppreMol licensed an antibody directed against interleukin 3 (IL-3) that could provide a new class of treatments against rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The antibody was developed by the molecular immunology research group led by Matthias Mack, M.D., at the University of Regensburg, Germany. Dr. Mack’s team has demonstrated that IL-3 plays an important role in the onset of RA.
“The in-licensing is in line with our strategy to strengthen the company’s development pipeline and its intellectual property base,” states Peter Buckel, Ph.D., CEO of SuppreMol. “We believe this IL-3 antibody has the potential to complement our current projects, in particular with the perspective to expand our product portfolio to common autoimmune disease indications.”
SuppreMol's lead candidate, SM101, is a recombinant, soluble, nonglycosylated version of the Fc receptor IIb that the company believes may have potential in RA as well as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and other autoimmune diseases. The protein binds to autoantibody/autoantigen complexes and blocks the triggering of Fc receptors on the surface of immune cells.
SM101 has been validated in relevant animal models and has shown strong efficacy in terms of decrease in inflammation and immune reaction, according to SuppreMol. The compound is now being developed in primary immune thrombocytopenia (ITP), for which it has been granted orphan drug status in the EU and the US.
In December SuppreMol received a €1.6 million (aboout $2.3 million) grant from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) toward projects to use SM101 in clinical studies with patients suffering from a subcategory of SLE primarily affecting the kidneys, lupus nephritis, and a project to evaluate SM101 in animal models for the treatment of COPD.