Xanthus Pharmaceuticals acquired an exclusive, worldwide license to a patent estate from Johns Hopkins University for treating immune-related disorders by inhibiting the FLT3 tyrosine kinase.
FLT3 is highly expressed on dendritic cells. In preclinical studies conducted by Johns Hopkins researchers, FLT3 signaling modulated autoimmune responses, suggesting that inhibition of the FLT3 pathway may reverse the course and severity of autoimmune disease.
"Inhibiting dendritic cells by first blocking FLT3 would represent a novel way of treating immune-related disorders by stopping unwanted activity at its point of initiation," states Alfred M. Ajami, Ph.D., Xanthus' CSO. “If successful, this approach would be a significant therapeutic improvement because it appears to leave the normal immune response intact.”
Xanthus and Johns Hopkins have also initiated a research project to assess novel compounds for FLT3 inhibitory activity and the downstream pathways relevant to a range of autoimmune diseases. The research program will focus on a new class of compounds being developed by Xanthus, imidazoacridinones. This class includes Symadex™, which is currently in Phase II trials in oncology. Xanthus is also exploring its use for the treatment of a number of autoimmune diseases where early preclinical studies have shown encouraging signs of activity.
"This license deal and research project are important steps for Xanthus as we build upon our early findings that Symadex and our other imidazoacridinones have the potential to be developed into an important new class of autoimmune therapies," notes Michael A. Boss, Ph.D., Xanthus' CBO.