Purespring Therapeutics and SwanBio Therapeutics announce licensing agreement for use of FunSel screening platform
FunSel is Purespring’s proprietary in-vivo ‘gene search engine’, which allows functional selection of therapeutic factors unconstrained by previous drug discovery bias
SwanBio will use FunSel to advance AAV-based gene therapies for use in neurological diseases
London, UK & Philadelphia, USA — 18 July 2022—Purespring Therapeutics, a pioneering gene therapy company focused on transforming the treatment of kidney diseases, has entered into a collaborative licensing agreement with SwanBio Therapeutics, a gene therapy company advancing adeno-associated virus (AAV)-based therapies for inherited neurological conditions, for the use of FunSel, Purespring’s proprietary gene therapy search engine.
FunSel enables a completely new way of discovering effective biological drugs, removing the narrow, target-focused bias built into traditional drug discovery. FunSel allows ‘functional selection’ of the most effective factor for disease phenotype correction, starting from a library of thousands of AAV vectors that are selected directly in vivo. All factors in the FunSel library are secreted outside the cells, maximising therapeutic benefit. FunSel is gene and mechanism of action agnostic and is based on the physiology of the organ and disease in question.
Under the terms of the agreement, SwanBio will license the FunSel screening platform from Purespring to explore new targets for early-stage pipeline programs. SwanBio will have an option to develop any targets identified and to own and commercialise any molecules developed. Purespring will be entitled to milestones and royalties upon successful commercialisation. Additional financial terms are not being disclosed.
The FunSel platform has already been instrumental in the creation of Purespring’s sister company Forcefield Therapeutics, a pioneer of best-in-class therapeutics to protect heart function, where FunSel was used to discover naturally occurring proteins that retain heart function and help existing cardiomyocytes protect themselves after myocardial infarction.
Richard Francis, Chief Executive Officer of Purespring, commented: “FunSel brings unique and pioneering screening capabilities and can help deliver the promise of gene therapy to non-monogenic disorders, allowing far broader patient populations to be treated than is the case with most gene therapies. This is the second example of how this gene search engine is helping to underpin a company’s development strategy and demonstrates our ability to maximise the value of this platform by sharing this unique capability. SwanBio has a clear mission to develop AAV therapies for neurological disorders and it’s great to be able to support them and potentially others exploring new targets.”
Tom Anderson, Chief Executive Officer of SwanBio, added: “FunSel has the potential to enable acceleration and greater precision of candidate selection, and SwanBio’s application of FunSel has the potential to expand and confirm our early pipeline candidates. SwanBio is committed to advancing AAV-based therapies for the most debilitating neurological disorders and this technology promises to significantly support our ability to refine and further develop potential candidates for development.”
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Notes to Editors
Purespring is the first company to treat kidney diseases by directly targeting the podocyte, a specialised kidney cell implicated in many kidney diseases, through AAV gene therapy.
Headed by former Sandoz CEO, Richard Francis, Purespring was founded on the work of Professor Moin Saleem, Professor of Paediatric Renal Medicine at the University of Bristol, where he heads a world leading group researching glomerular diseases. Purespring seeks to advance gene therapies for the treatment of both monogenic and non-monogenic chronic renal diseases that are currently poorly addressed with existing treatments.
The company also has a proprietary in-vivo pipeline engine, FunSel, which is a library of all biological factors that could be candidates for gene therapy, combined with a screening method to evaluate these factors in disease models. FunSel allows Purespring to discover new gene therapy candidates across all indications, unconstrained by genetics, to find the right candidate to make the best therapy.
An initial £45 million commitment to Purespring from Syncona Ltd is enabling Purespring to progress its assets to the clinic. Syncona’s Chief Investment Officer, Chris Hollowood, serves as Chairman. For more information please visit: purespringtx.com and follow us on LinkedIn.
FunSel is a proprietary in vivo ‘gene therapy search engine’ developed by Purespring Therapeutics’ co-founder Professor Mauro Giacca, Professor of Cardiovascular Sciences at King’s College, London.
FunSel is ‘gene agnostic’: unconstrained by genetics and therefore does not rely on knowledge of which gene is causing a disease. It allows ‘functional selection’ of therapeutic factors for disease phenotype correction. FunSel contains a library of thousands of AAV vectors encoding secreted proteins.
Because it is gene agnostic, FunSel offers potential to allow the application of gene therapy to non-monogenic disorders and treat much broader patient populations.
The platform has already been instrumental in the creation of Purespring Therapeutics and sister company Forcefield Therapeutics, a pioneer of best-in-class therapeutics to protect heart function and has broad potential for researchers developing gene therapy in many disease areas. It provides Purespring with opportunities to support industry peers through partnering and potential collaborations.
About SwanBio Therapeutics
SwanBio Therapeutics is a gene therapy company that aims to bring life-changing treatments to people with devastating, inherited neurological conditions. SwanBio is advancing a pipeline of gene therapies, designed to be delivered intrathecally, that can address targets within both the central and peripheral nervous systems. This approach has the potential to be applied broadly across three disease classifications – spastic paraplegias, monogenic neuropathies, and polygenic neuropathies. SwanBio’s lead program is being advanced toward clinical development for the treatment of adrenomyeloneuropathy (AMN). For more information, visit SwanBioTx.com.