Protectimmun said today it signed an agreement with Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Biotech to fund preclinical research at Imperial College being conducted by Prof. Clare Lloyd, Ph.D., with one of Protectimmun’s lead candidates.
Protectimmun did not disclose the amount of funding it will receive from Janssen under the agreement. The company did say, however, that the funding would support a proof-of-concept disease model of allergic asthma developed by Dr. Lloyd.
According to Imperial College’s website, an important recent focus of Dr. Lloyd’s research has been the investigation of the development of allergic immunity in early life. That research, the college said, has entailed working closely with the Department of Paediatrics at the Royal Brompton Hospital in studying children with severe asthma.
“This agreement strongly supports our ambition to pave the way for a disruptive first-in-class approach to combat allergic asthma and hay fever,” Protectimmun Co-Founder and CEO Marion Kauth, Ph.D., said in a statement.
Protectimmun focuses on new approaches to prevent and treat allergic and chronic inflammatory diseases—specifically, natural substances and bacteria with immunomodulatory properties from farm environments which are developed into new pharmaceutical applications. Those approaches include a nasal drop treatment designed to offer long-lasting protection against hay fever and allergic asthma in infants.
Promising candidates have been successfully tested in proof-of-concept animal models of asthma, and are now in mid- to late-stage preclinical development, according to the company.
Protectimmun said the funding agreement was facilitated by Johnson & Johnson Innovation, which offers funding, R&D expertise, business model development, and facilities and operational support to areas of strategic importance in J&J’s pharmaceutical, diagnostic, consumer and medical device businesses.
”It is impressive to see Johnson & Johnson Innovation’s strong commitment to creating new types of early-stage R&D collaborations to foster innovative healthcare solutions,” stated Marcus Peters, Ph.D., Protectimmun board member and scientific adviser.
Dr. Peters has specialized in the study of murine models of allergic and inflammatory airway diseases as senior scientist (Akademischer Rat) at the Department of Experimental Pneumology, Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany.