Southampton, UK, 17 December 2012 – Karus Therapeutics, a leader in the development of innovative medicines for the treatment of inflammatory disease and cancer, today announced that it has entered into a collaboration with the Babraham Institute (Cambridge, UK), to further characterize novel treatments for inflammatory diseases through the regulation of phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase (PI3K) – a family of enzymes important to immune cell function. This collaboration will be led by Dr Stephen Shuttleworth, Chief Scientific Officer of Karus. He will be working closely with the Babraham team headed by Dr Len Stephens and Dr Phillip Hawkins to further investigate PI3K signaling and the immune response and, in particular, the role of the different isoforms of the PI3K catalytic subunit p110 on neutrophil cell function.
Under the terms of the agreement, the team will further interrogate the mechanism by which Karus Therapeutics’ PI3K-p110 beta and PI3K-p110 delta inhibitors impact on neutrophil function and immune responses, with the aim of developing more effective treatments for inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Dr Shuttleworth said: “Dr Stephens and Dr Hawkins are key opinion leaders in the area of PI3K biology, notably in the context of neutrophil function. They have recently made key discoveries that are having a significant impact on the design of isoform-selective PI3K inhibitors for the treatment of chronic immune disorders. I have successfully collaborated with the Babraham team in the past and am delighted to be working with them again at Karus.”
Dr Hawkins added, “We have already shown in vivo that targeting of PI3K-p110 beta and PI3K-p110 delta is an effective way to treat rheumatoid arthritis in small animal models. By working with Karus, we gain unique access to scientific leadership in the field of PI3K inhibitor design and development. We look forward to working with Stephen and his team to convert scientific discovery into medical breakthrough.”