News archive 2005
Licensing agreement brings new diabetes treatments closer12 Oct 2005, PR 86/05
The translation of research by King's College London Professor Mark Peakman* into treatments for type 1 diabetes moved a step closer this week, with an announcement from UK Biotech firm Avidex that it has licensed exclusive rights from King's to develop products that recognise a molecule associated with the disease.
The company aims to produce a therapeutic agent that will bind to the molecule in question and protect insulin-producing cells from attack by the immune system.
Type 1 diabetes is widely recognised as an autoimmune disease in which the immune system destroys the insulin-producing beta cells found in the pancreas. Current treatments concentrate on relieving the symptoms of diabetes, and are primarily daily insulin injections to control the level of glucose in a patient's blood.
Unlike these therapies however, the approach that Avidex is taking could generate a treatment that slows the progression of the disease – preventing the islet cells from being destroyed. If successful, the treatment will preclude or reduce the need for patients to inject insulin.
The target molecule, discovered by Professor Mark Peakman's team at King's, is thought to be present in a substantial proportion of patients with type 1 diabetes, making it an extremely attractive target for the development of diabetes therapies. Up to 11 million people suffer from type 1 diabetes patients worldwide.
Dr Neill Moray MacKenzie, Chief Business Officer at Avidex, said: ‘Professor Peakman and his colleagues at King's College London are leading authorities on diabetes associated antigens and we are delighted to announce this opportunity to work with them.'
Professor Peakman is equally enthusiastic: ‘The prospect of working with Avidex is an exciting one. Theirs is cutting edge technology that has a very real prospect of future translation into therapeutics for type 1 diabetes.'
Dr Angela Wilson, Director of Research at Diabetes UK said: ‘We are delighted that Avidex has bought a licence to help develop this groundbreaking research. This is a prime example of how the investment of Diabetes UK has taken research from the laboratory to a stage where it has real potential to make a difference to people with diabetes. We are tremendously excited by this.'
Notes to editors
* Professor Peakman's research is supported by Diabetes UK and the Wellcome Trust
For more information on this licensing agreement visit: www.avidex.com/pages/media_investors/2/2005_10_10.htm
KCL Enterprises (KCLE) is the wholly owned enterprise and innovation company of King's College London. It is responsible for business development and commercialisation of the College's intellectual property and for the negotiation and management of its research. For more information about the range of research expertise, including contract research and clinical trials, and the technologies available to license from King's please visit www.kcl.ac.uk/kcle
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