MedImmune, AstraZeneca’s research and development arm, has opted to work with California-based 4D Molecular therapeutics (4DMT) on its adeno-associated virus (AAV) gene therapy vector discovery and engineering program.
The target for the gene therapy will be chronic lung disease. AAV vectors are designed to transport genes into both dividing and nondividing cells without introducing genetic material into the host genome.
This would allow any potential therapy to bring a ‘blueprint’ for the cell to produce a protein, which could potentially interrupt or alleviate symptoms of chronic lung disease.
As part of the partnership, 4DMT will work on discovery, engineering and optimising the development process, while MedImmune will work on the clinic development of any therapeutic candidate discovered.
In a joint statement, David Kirn, CEO and co-founder of 4DMT, said: “This exciting collaboration may open the door to significant advancements in treatment for respiratory patients. Our progress in customised AAV vectors enables us to unlock the potential of gene therapy and, with MedImmune’s expertise in protein engineering, we will continue to push boundaries in proprietary gene delivery to tissues and cells.”
MedImmune had not responded to a request for further information on the exact condition that will be targeted or on the financial details of the deal at the time of publishing.
Building up a pipeline
MedImmune has been signing a number of research agreements of late, as it looks to build its pipeline of products, and entered a five-year collaboration with Ethris looking into respiratory diseases in August 2017.
Earlier this year it entered a partnership with Compugen for multiple bi- and multi-specific antibodies, though the particular therapeutic area was not revealed.