Trillium expands immunology pipeline and enters stem cell field through in-licensing of two new programs
TORONTO, March 11 /CNW/ - Trillium Therapeutics Inc. (TTI), a biopharmaceutical company developing innovative immune-based biologics, today announced that it has entered into two definitive license agreements with University Health Network (UHN) and The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in Toronto, Ontario, granting Trillium exclusive worldwide rights to commercialize two immunology programs in the areas of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation and cancer.
"We are very excited to have strengthened our immunology franchise and to have reinforced our existing bond with Toronto's world-class immunology community. Our productive long-standing relationship with UHN bodes well for the success of this new collaboration", commented Dr. Niclas Stiernholm, Trillium's CEO. "This transaction exemplifies how ground-breaking Canadian science can and should be commercialized by our domestic biotechnology industry, something that must be encouraged and supported also by government and investor groups."
The first project licensed by TTI is aimed at improving hematopoietic stem cell engraftment by agonizing a key immunoregulatory pathway and thereby preventing the host immune system from attacking transplanted stem cells. The second program is focused on the treatment of several types of cancers by antagonizing the same pathway in cancer stem cells, stimulating the patient's own immune system to attack the cancer. Drs. John Dick, and Jean Wang from UHN, and Dr. Jayne Danska, world renowned scientists in their respective fields and the inventors of these technologies, first published their initial findings in Nature Immunology in December 2007. Through companion sponsored research agreements, they will be collaborating closely with Trillium's scientific team to advance this cutting-edge science towards testing in humans.
Dr. Christopher Paige, VP Research at UHN stated "We are very pleased to have created this partnership with a vibrant Canadian biotechnology company like Trillium Therapeutics. It represents an excellent example of how Research Hospitals like UHN and SickKids can work together to translate cutting edge research discoveries into new product development opportunities". Dr. Janet Rossant, Chief of Research at SickKids added "Research collaborations between scientists at our institutions have now been extended to development interactions with the private sector, clearly indicating that we can bring biotherapeutic research and development together in Toronto".
Trillium Therapeutics Inc. is a private biopharmaceutical company specializing in innovative therapies of immune-mediated conditions, such as autoimmune and inflammatory disorders, as well as cancer. The company's lead program, TTI-1612, is a recombinant growth factor that is being developed for the treatment of interstitial cystitis (IC) and the prevention of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC). Trillium has broad portfolio preclinical immunology programs, including two partnered programs that target the CD200 immunoregulatory axis; a CD200-specific monoclonal antibody for the treatment of cancer, and a CD200Fc fusion protein for the treatment of autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. In addition, the company has an FcgRIIa-specific humanized monoclonal antibody in development for treatment of immune complex-mediated inflammatory diseases.
The company has a broad network of external academic and industry R&D collaborations, including several license agreements with major US biotechnology companies. The Company is supported by three premier venture capital investors: Vengrowth Private Equity Partners, Growthworks Capital and BDC Capital.For further information: Niclas Stiernholm, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer, Trillium Therapeutics Inc., 96 Skyway Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, M9W 4Y9, Canada, Tel: (416) 595-0627, Fax: (416) 595-5835, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.trilliumtherapeutics.com