Crossing their Ts

Bioo Therapeutics, Texas Tech researchers team up on targeted delivery of siRNA into T cells

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AUSTIN, Texas—Bioo Therapeutics and Texas Tech Universityhave entered into a collaboration to suppress the progression of HIV using atargeted RNAi.

Dr. Premlata Shankar, professor and co-director of theCenter of Excellence of Infectious Disease Research at Texas Tech University,has developed RNAi-based treatment methods for HIV infection and isparticipating in the collaborative research effort with Bioo Therapeutics, adivision of Bioo Scientific, to leverage its T3 technology to facilitate thetargeted delivery of siRNA into T cells.

According to Dr. Lance Ford, vice president of research andbusiness development for Bioo Scientific, the research teams led by Shankar andDr. Manjunath N. Swamy, also from Texas Tech's Paul L. Foster School ofMedicine, consist of talented scientists with a strong sense of the future ofRNAi delivery and therapeutics. 

"They have already demonstrated that siRNA can be used tocontrol the spread of HIV among cells in an animal model," he says. "Now, theyare working with Bioo Therapeutics' proprietary T3 technology to progresstargeted RNAi delivery for HIV and a number of cancers."

Ford points out that the terms are very typical for researchcollaborations within the biotechnology space and include definitions for jointintellectual property, a collaborative research program and research results.

"We have the ability to freely transfer materials in orderto meet the research objectives," he notes.

Shankar has already successfully used RNAi to dramaticallysuppress HIV infection in mice by knocking down three key genes, preventing theHIV infection from spreading. 

Ford notes that using Bioo Scientific's T3 technology willallow Shankar to precisely target the siRNAs in vivo into T cells, although it can be used to target anycell type. The patent-pending T3 technology functions by conjugating an RNAiagent carrier to a monoclonal antibody to produce a conjugate, which is thenloaded with an RNAi agent such as siRNA or miRNA molecules. 

"I am delighted to join forces with Bioo Scientific in thedevelopment of an advanced, monoclonal antibody-based technology for targeted deliveryof siRNA to T cells and potentially other cell types," Shankar says. "Bycombining our scientific expertise and resources, we can speed up thedevelopment of robust enabling platforms for efficient delivery to desiredcells and tissues in vivo, which iscritical for translating siRNAs into a novel class of drugs to treat humandiseases."  

Ford says Bioo Therapeutics, a division of Bioo Scientific,was developed to leverage its proprietary drug delivery vehicles and extensiveexperience in antibody and small-molecule research to develop therapeuticagents to combat cancer and other diseases.

"Bioo Therapeutics will benefit from this alliance in anumber of ways," he points out. "If Dr. Shankar's team is successful indeveloping an RNAi-based therapeutic incorporating the T3 technology to replacethe harsh drug cocktails currently prescribed to patients with HIV, it willgreatly increase our brand value while strengthening the T3 productportfolio." 

In addition, Ford notes that this research also serves as anoutside validation of the T3 technology. 

"If the analysis of the newly developed T3 delivery vehiclesproves successful, it will allow Bioo Therapeutics to engage other researcherstrying to optimize targeted delivery of siRNA for pharmaceutical applications,"he says. 

Ultimately, there are a number of ways that the success ofthis collaboration can be measured, says Ford.

"Of course, it would be ideal if this relationship lead tothe successful development of an anti-HIV siRNA-based drug," notes Ford."However, there are other factors which we are also using as criteria fordefining success. These include the strengthening of our IP position and theoptimization of the chemistry used to develop the T3 carriers."

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