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Home News ImmunoForge Expands Drug Development Licensing Agreement with Duke University

ImmunoForge Expands Drug Development Licensing Agreement with Duke University

NOTE: The elastin-like polypeptide (ELP) platform acquired by ImmunoForge was developed by Dr. Ashutosh Chilkoti (BME, Pratt). This press release originally appeared on PRNewswire.

SEOUL, South Korea, May 18, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — ImmunoForge has announced on the 18th that it has expanded its license rights with Duke University to enhance joint research and drug development opportunities in relation to the elastin-like polypeptide (ELP) platform technology. Through this agreement, ImmunoForge expects to accelerate the development of new drugs based on the ELP technology that was originally developed by Professor Ashutosh Chilkoti at Duke University. Dr. Jim Ballance, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of ImmunoForge, has pioneered the clinical development of peptide drugs that are genetically fused to ELPs. The powerful research partnership between ImmunoForge and Duke University will revolutionize the delivery of peptide and protein drugs.

Duke University will have the right to develop new anticancer drugs with the ELP platform technology, and, if such drugs are commercialized with a partner, the university will share a portion of the profits with ImmunoForge. ImmunoForge retains the right to develop new products in all therapeutic areas other than anticancer drugs, and if it succeeds in global commercialization, a portion of the profits will be distributed to Duke University.

ImmunoForge recently received approval from the Korean Ministry of Food and Drug Safety at the end of March 2023 for a Phase 2 clinical trial for the treatment of Idiopathic Inflammatory Myopathy (IIM) with PF1801, an ELP platform pipeline candidate, and is set to enter clinical trials at 10 university hospitals in Korea. Idiopathic inflammatory myopathies are diseases with high unmet medical need with currently no treatments other than steroids.

  • Idiopathic inflammatory myopathy: A group of chronic autoimmune diseases that mainly affect  proximal muscle. IIM includes polymyositis (PM), dermatomyositis (DM), and inclusion body myositis (IBM). It is characterized by severe deterioration in quality of life of patients, such as difficulty in standing up, climbing stairs, lifting objects, and swallowing foods. The aim of treatment is to improve the patients’ quality of life such as treating inflammation and restoring muscle strength.

ImmunoForge is a venture-backed biopharma company that focuses on the development of new drugs for rare diseases and has received a total of four Orphan Drug Designations (ODD) from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), including one for Dermatomyositis that was received on March 29 2023. This is the second-highest number of ODD received by a single company from the US FDA in Korea. If a drug receives an ODD from the US FDA, it benefits from market exclusivity for up to seven years, regulatory assistance and guidance from FDA, tax credit on clinical trial expenses and eligibility for research grants.

ImmunoForge has also disclosed that it has signed a license agreement with a global pharmaceutical company for development of one or more drugs based on the ELP technology. However, specific contract details, such as the financial terms of the contract and technical matters related to the drugs, remain confidential.

“We are pleased to expand our relationship with ImmunoForge to continue development of novel therapeutics using the ELP platform, originally developed by Professor Chilkoti at Duke University”, said Duke University Associate VP for Translation & Commercialization, Robin Rasor.

ImmunoForge’s co-CEOs Sung-min Ahn and Kiho Chang stated “It is very meaningful that our capabilities in new drug development have been reinforced through expanding our cooperation with Duke—a leading global university–and by outlicensing to global companies”, and that they “will continue to create open innovation and joint research opportunities with domestic and foreign companies, universities and research institutes for the ELP technology and ImmunoForge’s new drug pipeline.”

SOURCE ImmunoForge

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