ROCKVILLE, Md.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Immunomic Therapeutics, Inc. (ITI), a privately held, Maryland-based biotechnology company, announced today that the company has granted Japanese animal health company, ZENOAQ (Nippon Zenyaku Kogyo Co., Ltd, Koriyama, Japan) an exclusive license to develop and commercialize its investigational DNA vaccine, ITI-002, for canine atopic dermatitis and other companion animal allergies. The therapy was developed using ITI’s proprietary UNITE™ (UNiversal Intracellular Targeted Expression) platform, which harnesses the natural biochemistry of humans and other mammals to develop vaccines that trigger broad immune responses.
“Our UNITE platform continues to generate sophisticated investigational DNA and RNA vaccines for indications in both humans and animals,” said Dr. William Hearl, CEO of Immunomic Therapeutics. “Investigating the application of our technology to this significant health problem for dogs has been an important part of our allergy research and development program for the last few years. We are very pleased to have such a strong animal health partner in ZENOAQ to continue the development process and strive to bring this product to market. We are confident with their extensive experience in the animal health market and believe that they will be able to commercialize this potentially high-value treatment for dog allergy worldwide.”
Atopic dermatitis is a chronic inflammatory skin condition that affects an estimated 10-15 percent of dogs1. The disease is caused by an allergic reaction to common environmental substances, such as grass, dust mites, and mold. ITI’s experimental vaccine is designed to build tolerance to a number of these allergens through the delivery of key nucleotide sequences (for example, those encoding for dust mites).
“Canine atopic dermatitis is a life-long condition that negatively impacts both the animal and its owner,” said ZENOAQ President Toshikazu Fukui. “Immunomic’s immunotherapy platform combines many technological and scientific advances, producing vaccines that could really usher in a new era of treatment, targeting the root cause of the inflammation.”
As part of the agreement, ZENOAQ will also receive exclusive rights to option other UNITE-based therapies and indications within animal health, including oncology.
ITI’s investigational UNITE platform, or UNiversal Intracellular Targeted Expression, is thought to work by encoding the Lysosomal Associated Membrane Protein, an endogenous protein in humans. In this way, ITI’s vaccines (DNA or RNA) have the potential to utilize the body’s natural biochemistry to develop a broad immune response including antibody production, cytokine release and critical immunological memory. This approach could put UNITE technology at the crossroads of immunotherapies in a number of illnesses, including cancer, allergy and infectious diseases. UNITE is currently being employed in Phase II clinical trials as a cancer immunotherapy. ITI is also collaborating with academic centers and biotechnology companies to study the use of UNITE in cancer types of high mortality, including cases where there are limited treatment options like glioblastoma and acute myeloid leukemia. ITI believes that these early clinical studies may provide a proof of concept for UNITE therapy in cancer, and if successful, set the stage for future studies, including combinations in these tumor types and others. Preclinical data is currently being developed to explore whether LAMP nucleic acid constructs may amplify and activate the immune response in highly immunogenic tumor types and be used to create immune responses to tumor types that otherwise do not provoke an immune response and be used to create immune responses to tumor types that otherwise do not provoke an immune response.
About Immunomic Therapeutics, Inc.
Immunomic Therapeutics, Inc. (ITI) is a privately-held clinical stage biotechnology company pioneering the study of the LAMP-based nucleic acid immunotherapy platforms. These investigational technologies have the potential to alter how we use immunotherapy for cancer, allergies and animal health. ITI has entered into a significant licensing agreement with Astellas Pharma Inc. to explore the use of LAMP-Vax, the precursor to UNITE, an immunotherapy platform, for use in the prevention and treatment of allergic diseases. For information about ITI and UNITE technology, visit www.immunomix.com.
About Zenoaq (http://www.zenoaq.jp/english/)
Established in 1946, ZENOAQ (Nippon Zenyaku Kogyo Co., Ltd.) is a leading animal health company in Japan. With a workforce of nearly 700 employees and the generation of about ¥32.7 billion in sales (approximately US$297.3 million) in the 2016 fiscal year, ZENOAQ has a solid business model focused on R&D, manufacturing and importation of animal health products, contributing to a broad product portfolio for production and companion animals. In addition, ZENOAQ, headquartered in Fukushima, has the widest distribution network for veterinary products in Japan, supported by a strong direct sales force. In June 2014, ZENOAQ launched Allermmune HDM, a first-of-its-kind desensitization therapy for house dust mite-induced canine atopic dermatitis, reflecting the company's increased focus on an innovative pipeline for the companion animal market. ZENOAQ’s partners include Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health, CEVA SA, Vetoquinol, Mars, Intervet, DSM Nutrition as well as IDEXX Laboratories.
1 Hillier A, Griffin CE. The ACVD task force on canine atopic dermatitis (I): incidence and prevalence. Vet Immunol Immunopathology. 2001;81(3–4):147–151. doi: 10.1016/S0165-2427(01)00296-3.