The company established an exclusive option agreement with the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) to license patent rights over the MUC1-ecto-domain (MUC1-ED) compound, currently in preclinical development.
MUC1-ED was invented by several faculty members of the University of Maryland School of Medicine. It was engineered based on a natural compound to block the adhesion of P. aeruginosa bacteria to cells lining the airways. With this mode of action, MUC1-ED is thought to prevent the overgrowth or spreading of bacteria in the lung, a main cause of pulmonary function decline among patients with CF.
“The university’s newly formed partnership with GEn1E Lifesciences is very encouraging, and we hope to see it lead to rapid external validation of the MUC1-ED technology,” Nancy Cowger, director of licensing and alliances for UM Ventures, said in a press release.
“It’s also an example of how early-stage technology investment by the university and the state of Maryland — via support from UMB’s Institute for Clinical and Translational Research and the Maryland Innovation Initiative — can enhance the commercial viability of important new medical innovations emerging from academic research,” Cowger added.
Preclinical experimental and animal data have demonstrated that MUC1-ED can effectively prevent P. aeruginosa binding, according to information from GEn1E’s website.
“The inventors’ novel use of MUC1-ED, a natural peptide with antibacterial properties for the treatment of Pseudomonas infections, is a compelling complement to antibiotic-based therapies,” said Ritu Lal, PhD, co-founder and CEO of GEn1E. “MUC1-ED’s mechanism of action differs from traditional antibiotic therapies and could be used to reduce the bacterial load, slow the development of resistance, and shorten the duration of treatment.”
The right to use MUC1-ED for the treatment of pulmonary infections is protected by the patent (WO2016105536) titled “MUC1 Decoy Peptides for Treatment and Prevention of Bacterial Infections.”
“We are excited to enter into this exclusive agreement with UMB and … to further establish the antibacterial properties of this peptide. We seek to determine its potential to treat Pseudomonas infections in areas of high need, including individuals with cystic fibrosis,” Lal said.
GEn1E has also entered into an exclusive option agreement with UMB for its p38a Kinase inhibitor for the treatment of acute lung injury/acute respiratory distress syndrome, as well as for inflammatory and age-related diseases.