Immugenyx, a subsidiary of Hemogenyx Pharmaceuticals, has partnered with Janssen Research & Development, one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson Innovation, to develop a new humanized mouse model for systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
The collaboration was announced by Hemogenyx, a biopharmaceutical company devoted to the development of therapies and treatments for blood and autoimmune diseases based on bone marrow transplantation.
“As a company committed to the development of novel therapeutic products for patients suffering from blood and severe autoimmune diseases, we are pleased to partner with Janssen, a world leader in the discovery and development of therapeutics for autoimmune diseases,” Vladislav Sandler, CEO and co-founder of Hemogenyx, said in a press release.
SLE, the most common form of lupus, is a chronic autoimmune disease characterized by a series of physical, behavioral, and psychological symptoms, including tissue inflammation, skin rash, pain, fatigue, depression, and impaired cognition.
The high variability of SLE means it is not only challenging to diagnose and treat, but also difficult to study. Current mouse models of lupus, including spontaneous lupus models and genetically modified animals, share a distinct limitation: a mouse’s immune system is different from ours. Therefore, one cannot assume disease mechanisms at work in mice will be the same in patients.
Immugenyx is among the companies working toward a new model that has a complete and functional human immune system, thereby eliminating potential discrepancies and limitations of previous animal models of disease.
Advanced hematopoietic chimeras (AHC) — created by injecting human hematopoietic stem cells (stem cells that give rise to all types of blood cells) into a developing mouse embryo — have been specifically developed as an in vivo tool for disease modeling and drug development.
The companies will use Immugenyx’s ACH approach to develop the humanized mouse model of lupus.
Under terms of the agreement, Immugenyx will maintain ownership of the model while granting Janssen and its affiliates a perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive, fully paid-up, transferable worldwide license to use the humanized animals for its own research and product development. The financial terms of the collaboration agreement have not yet been disclosed.