Karus Therapeutics is teaming up with the Babraham Institute to further characterize novel treatments for inflammatory diseases. The partners plan to achieve this through the regulation of phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase (PI3K), a family of enzymes important to immune cell function. They will further investigate PI3K signaling and the immune response and, in particular, the role of the different isoforms of the PI3K catalytic subunit p110 on neutrophil cell function.

Under terms of the agreement, the team will further interrogate the mechanism by which Karus Therapeutics’ PI3K-p110 beta and PI3K-p110 delta inhibitors impact neutrophil function and immune responses, with the aim of developing more effective treatments for inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.

“We have already shown in vivo that targeting of PI3K-p110 beta and PI3K-p110 delta is an effective way to treat rheumatoid arthritis in small animal models,” notes Phillip Hawkins, Ph.D., added. “By working with Karus, we gain access to scientific leadership in the field of PI3K inhibitor design and development.”

This is not the first collaboration Karus has forged related to its PI3K programs. The firm, established in 2005 as a spin-out company from the University of Southampton, teamed with Queen Mary, University of London in 2009 to develop small molecule inhibitors of selected isoforms of PI3K as treatments against inflammatory diseases and cancer. The following year, the firm began preclinical development of its HDAC6 and PI3K inhibitor programs for the treatment of immune and inflammatory diseases.

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