CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Padlock Therapeutics, a biotechnology company dedicated to creating new medicines for destructive autoimmune diseases, today announced that the company has entered into agreements with three research partners. The company will collaborate with experts in the field of protein-arginine deiminase (PAD) enzymes and their role in disease biology at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), University of Massachusetts Medical School, and The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI). Padlock will work with investigators at these institutions to determine the role of individual PAD enzymes in certain animal disease models and to evaluate the activity of its proprietary PAD inhibitors in enzymatic assays, animal models, and human cellular systems.
Padlock is forging a new and different path for the creation of first-in-class treatments for autoimmune disease, building on pioneering leadership in the inhibition of PAD enzymes and their role in initiating and perpetuating devastating autoimmune diseases. Key to the company’s advancement is complementing its internal expertise by accessing unique capabilities of leading research collaborators in the PAD field. These collaborations assist Padlock in rapidly building its biology infrastructure to support the company’s significant achievements in chemistry. Under the terms of the collaborations Padlock will work with scientists at the NIH, UMass Medical School and TSRI as follows. Financial details were not disclosed.
- NIH (Mariana Kaplan, M.D., principal investigator): Role of PADs and effect of proprietary inhibitors in neutrophil extracellular trap (NET) formation and animal models of systemic lupus erythematosus
- TSRI (Kerri Mowen, Ph.D., principal investigator and one of Padlock’s scientific founders): Role of PADs and effect of proprietary inhibitors in mouse models of rheumatoid arthritis
- UMass Medical School (Aaron Muth, Ph.D., principal investigator in the lab of Padlock scientific founder and UMass Medical School professor of biochemistry & molecular pharmacology Paul Thompson, Ph.D.): Mechanism of action studies of proprietary PAD inhibitors
“Padlock prides itself on being deeply connected with a broad network of scientists conducting cutting-edge research on the role of PAD enzymes in the biology of autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, and multiple sclerosis,” said Michael Gilman, Ph.D., Founder and Chief Executive Officer at Padlock. "These collaborators will help us expand our biology effort and advance our understanding of how best to target the PAD enzymes and maximize the potential our inhibitors may have for patients.”
About PAD Enzymes and Autoimmune Disease
Padlock’s founding hypothesis is that autoantigens drive the initiation and development of autoimmunity by perpetuating, maturing, and intensifying a destructive autoimmune attack on healthy tissue. Autoantigens also drive the formation and deposition of immune complexes, which account for much of the morbidity and mortality in patients with autoimmune disease. In patients where the source of autoantigen is known, extinguishing autoantigen production offers the potential to impact disease progression and intensity without affecting systemic immunity. The protein-arginine deiminases (PADs) are a family of enzymes that post-translationally modify arginine side chains on proteins to the related amino acid citrulline. In some patients, these citrullinated proteins are immunogenic – in other words, in these patients PAD enzymes produce the autoantigens that drive disease. Inhibiting PADs in these patients may provide an innovative, alternative approach to treating patients who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, multiple sclerosis, and other destructive autoimmune diseases.
About the University of Massachusetts Medical School
The University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS), one of five campuses of the University system, comprises the School of Medicine, the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, the Graduate School of Nursing, a thriving research enterprise and an innovative public service initiative, Commonwealth Medicine. Its mission is to advance the health of the people of the commonwealth through pioneering education, research, public service and health care delivery with its clinical partner, UMass Memorial Health Care. In doing so, it has built a reputation as a world-class research institution and as a leader in primary care education. The Medical School attracts more than $240 million annually in research funding, placing it among the top 50 medical schools in the nation. For more information, visit www.umassmed.edu.
About The Scripps Research Institute
The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) is one of the world's largest independent, not-for-profit organizations focusing on research in the biomedical sciences. TSRI is internationally recognized for its contributions to science and health, including its role in laying the foundation for new treatments for cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, hemophilia, and other diseases. An institution that evolved from the Scripps Metabolic Clinic founded by philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps in 1924, the institute now employs about 3,000 people on its campuses in La Jolla, CA, and Jupiter, FL, where its renowned scientists—including two Nobel laureates—work toward their next discoveries. The institute's graduate program, which awards Ph.D. degrees in biology and chemistry, ranks among the top ten of its kind in the nation. For more information, see www.scripps.edu.
Padlock Therapeutics is a private, Cambridge, Massachusetts-based biotechnology company dedicated to creating new medicines to treat destructive autoimmune diseases. The company leverages breakthrough science on the biochemistry of the protein-arginine deiminase (PAD) enzymes, the role of PADs in generating autoantigens, and the role of protein citrullination in disease to develop novel drugs targeting the PAD enzymes. Padlock was founded by scientists at The Scripps Research Institute in conjunction with Atlas Venture. Padlock’s Series A investors include Atlas Venture, Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC, Inc., MS Ventures, and Index Ventures. For more information on Padlock, visit www.padlocktherapeutics.com.