Turing Pharmaceuticals Announces Toxoplasmosis Research Collaboration with Washington University in St. Louis
Company will work with academic leaders in toxoplasmosis research to advance new disease treatments
Zug, Switzerland, October 4, 2016
Turing Pharmaceuticals today announced a sponsored research agreement with Washington University in St. Louis to investigate novel treatments for toxoplasmosis.
Toxoplasmosis is a potentially life-threatening infection caused by Toxoplasma gondii – one of the most commonly found parasites worldwide. Researchers are seeking new treatments that specifically target the parasite with minimum impact on its human host, in addition to showing activity against the chronic form of the disease. One highly regarded avenue of exploration is Calcium Dependent Protein Kinase 1 (CDPK1) inhibition.
"If we can suppress CDPK1 in the parasite, we reduce its ability to invade, and after replicating to exit from, the cells of its host, which are paramount to parasite survival," said David Sibley, Ph.D., the Alan A and Edith L. Wolff Distinguished Professor of Molecular Microbiology and principal investigator at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. "The kinase is absent in mammals, including man, and this enables a parasite-selective treatment paradigm with low potential for mechanism-based toxicity in patients. Furthermore, early evidence supports the possibility of leveraging this mechanism of action to clear chronic T. gondii cysts."
"Dr. Sibley and his colleagues at Washington University School of Medicine are leaders in CDPK1 inhibitor development and experimental models of toxoplasmosis," said Eliseo Salinas, MD, MSc, President of R&D at Turing. "This collaboration further strengthens our commitment to developing much-needed new treatments for a serious condition that has been largely ignored by our industry for more than 50 years."
Dr. Sibley and his lab will also aid in providing additional preclinical support for Turing’s dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) inhibitor program, which recently entered IND-enabling studies. Dr. Sibley has access to some of the world’s most advanced and unique models of toxoplasmosis, and has published over 200 scientific articles on toxoplasmosis genetics, pathogenesis and molecular biology.
Toxoplasmosis is a potentially serious, sometimes fatal infection caused by the Toxoplasma gondii (T gondii) parasite. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers toxoplasmosis to be one of the five neglected parasitic infections. It is estimated that 10-15% of residents in the USA and as much as one quarter of the world’s human population are chronically infected. Although many people are infected, only a small number may experience serious complications. Most suffer no more than passing flu-like symptoms until the parasite is controlled by the immune system. The organism can, however, be reactivated in people, including those with compromised immunity. Active infection can cause encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), blindness and death. In some cases, a mother can transmit the infection to her fetus, who might suffer serious and sometimes irreversible complications.
About Washington University in St Louis
Washington University School of Medicine is one of the leading medical research, teaching and patient-care institutions in the United States and currently is ranked sixth by U.S. News & World Report. The school’s 2,100 faculty physicians make up the medical staff of Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals. Through its affiliations with the hospitals, the School of Medicine is linked to BJC HealthCare.
Turing Pharmaceuticals AG is a privately-held biopharmaceutical company with offices in Zug Switzerland and New York, NY. Turing focuses on developing and commercializing innovative treatments for serious diseases and conditions across a broad range of therapeutic areas, for which there are currently limited or no treatment options.
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