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PolyGene seeks partners for IMI collaboration

news-releasesPolyGene AG
September 22nd 2015

Rümlang, Switzerland: – Innovative transgenic research institute PolyGene AG is reaching out to research bodies interested in research collaboration in diabetic kidney disease or Alzheimer’s to address opportunities created under the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI 2) framework.

IMI is Europe’s largest public-private initiative that aims to speed up the development of better and safer medicines for patients.

“As an SME we are eligible to participate in EU-funded projects and could take over a co-coordinating role. We bring our expertise in highly customized generation of mouse models to international collaboration projects,” explained Dr. Stefan Selbert, PolyGene’s Executive Director for Business & Development.

The fifth IMI 2 call for proposal, posted online, invites approaches from EU partnering consortia with expertise in a number of target translational medicine topics. Three of these are therapeutic areas in which PolyGene has particular expertise.

Diabetic kidney disease biomarkers (DKD-BM)

Topic 2 invites proposals to develop new and more effective biomarkers for diabetic kidney disease (DKD), which is the leading cause of end-stage renal disease (ESRD), whose incidence and prevalence are both increasing worldwide.

“PolyGene has the expertise and can contribute with respect to the generation of yet-to-be-established animal models relevant to DKD that can be exploited, using clinical biomarkers found in this study to assess preclinical model system,” said Dr. Selbert.

“We would select the most appropriate for further translational investigations; back-translating clinical database findings to develop improved in vitro and in vivo models of DKD,” he explained.

Inflammation and Alzheimer Disease: modulating microglia function-focusing on TREM2 and CD33

The goal for IMI Topic 3 is to identify drug targets in TREM2 and CD33 signaling pathways to modulate microglial or macrophage function for the treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD).

“PolyGene’s contribution can be the validation of tools to knock-down or over-express targeted genes and identify suitable reagents to quantify knock down or overexpression, said Dr. Selbert.

PolyGene’s Expected outcomes include:

  • Confirmation if an early (related to AD-phenotypes in vivo, e.g. plaque load or tau pathology) increase or decrease activation of microglia impacts on neuronal function
  • Determination if late activation of microglia, related to AD-phenotypes in vivo, (e.g. plaque load or tau pathology) worsens AD-related phenotypes
  • Identification of CD33 and TREM2 pathways offering potential drug intervention to modulate microglia phagocytic/motility function

APOE biology to validate Alzheimer’s Disease targets

Topic 6 is also related to AD It aims to identify critical mechanisms by which ApoE4 leads to the development of AD as a basis for new treatment approaches based on these basic research findings, and identify biomarkers in support of treating Apolipoprotein E (ApoE4)-positive patients. In contrast to familiar Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) mutations,) is the most prominent risk factor for sporadic, late-onset AD (LOAD), which comprises over 95 per cent of AD cases.

“PolyGene can research into ApoE biology in models with high relevance to AD, e.g. iPSCs-derived models and animal models as well as the generation of novel transgenic models, like the ApoE4-ki X APP-PS2 mice to improve understanding of the disease biology progression and identification of the optimal treatment, “ commented Dr. Selbert.

“We can help to establish ApoE4/biomarker signature (preferably in plasma) to stratify MCI/AD patients for potential ApoE biopharmaceutical inventions,” he explained.

The IMI is calling for Stage 1 submissions by October 13, but Dr. Selbert said interested researchers should not worry about timescales.

“We would ask interested parties not to worry about deadlines now but if any of these topics fit their expertise, just contact us to indicate interest,” he appealed.

About PolyGene

PolyGene is a privately owned research institute, located near Zurich, Switzerland, that develops state-of-the-art transgenic animal models of human disease for a worldwide research clientele.

Founded in 2002, PolyGene is run by an international team of scientists with academic and industrial backgrounds, having notable track records in mouse transgenesis as well as in business management.

The focus of the business is on finding and nurturing productive research collaborations that promote scientific advances.

PolyGene is a fully functional production site for the establishment and target validation of transgenic and knockout mouse lines, and also offers co-development opportunities in model building, including rat and rabbit models. PolyGene provides one of the in the world’s most highly regarded professional transgenic services, with over 330 completed customer projects and more than 750 individual mouse lines generated to date.

PolyGene’s strong IP portfolio includes patent rights on innovative antibiotic-inducible expression systems, used exclusively for transgenic service projects, such as the murine recombinant Leukemia Inhibitory Factor ESLIF that PolyGene has developed for the generation of highly chimeric mice.

PolyGene also offers services in speed congenics, inducible expression systems and gene targeting.

PolyGene is configured to contribute actively as an R&D intensive SME partner to EU initiatives such as Horizon 2020, Eurostars, IMI, etc., with an impressive track record of partnering in projects such as CarTarDis (Cardiovascular Target Discovery), SYBIL (studying the genetic causes of skeletal diseases) and TumAdoR (focusing on development of human therapeutic monoclonal antibodies to neutralize immunosuppressive cancer pathways).

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