Inserm deal will see organizations work together on product development.

TcLand Expression obtained exclusive worldwide rights to IP covering gene-expression signatures predictive of the response to rheumatoid arthritis (RA) therapies, from the French National Institute for Health and Medical Research (Inserm). The license deal, negotiated through Inserm’s technology transfer arm, Inserm Transfert, will be accompanied by a close collaboration between TcLand and Inserm focused on developing companion diagnostics for use alongside RA treatment.

“Our combined skills will enable us to design a test which should deliver significant progress in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and the development of companion diagnostic products,” commented Olivier Boyer, who heads the collaborating team at the Inserm/University of Rouen U905 physiology and biotherapy of inflammatory and autoimmune disease research unit.

The agreement follows just about a week after TcLand reported a strategic partnership with Spain’s Hospital Vall d’Hebron Research Institute (VHIR) to develop new biomarkers for predicting the response to biologics therapy for RA. Under terms of this deal TcLand has exclusive and worldwide access to VHIR’s intellectual property covering biomarkers predicting the response to TNF-alpha blockers.

Just a month prior to this, TcLand inked a collaborative research agreement with the Hospices Civils de Lyon hospital group in Lyon (France), also focused on the development of new biomarkers for predicting the response to biologics in RA therapy. The collaboration will exploit the expertise of clinical immunologist Professor Pierre Miossec Ph.D., director of the immunogenomics and inflammation research unit at the Edouard Herriot Hospital in Lyon.

Also in May, TcLand announced the award of €450,000 (about $566,000) in research funding by the French National Research Agency to support the development of an RA companion diagnostic program by the company and its collaborators at the Edouard Herriot Hospital and Inserm researchers at Rouen University Hospital.

TcLand is a spin-out from Inserm focused on the discovery, development, and validation of gene- expression biomarkers in transplantation and autoimmune diseases. The firm projects launching its LTolx and KRegx liver and kidney transplantation assays during 2011.

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