Aurora company licenses unusual approach to treating inflammatory disease

By Staff

Western States Biopharmaceuticals, Inc. (WSBI), a privately held biotechnology company focusing on the development of novel therapies to treat inflammatory disease, and the University of Colorado have entered into a licensing agreement for approaches to inhibiting newly discovered T cell Cytokine Inducing Surface Molecules, or TCISM autoimmune disease drug discovery targets.

Carl K. Edwards, Ph.D., WSBI's chief scientific officer and a discoverer of the TCISM targets, said, "The goal of WSBI's drug discovery and development research programs is to mediate adaptive immunity (one of two arms of the immune system) while leaving the innate immune system intact. This more selective approach has the potential to result in more effective, yet safer therapies than those currently available to patients."

Said David Norris, chairman of the department of dermatology at the University of Colorado Denver Anschutz Medical Campus and a discoverer of the TCISM targets, "Autoimmune diseases comprise over 100 chronic and often disabling illnesses affecting up to 100 million people worldwide. While there are blockbuster therapies that treat these diseases, they work in only a portion of patients and often lack long-term efficacy. Additionally, because they block the patient's entire immune system, these drugs leave the body vulnerable to infections and even malignancies. TCISM-based therapies could potentially provide physicians and patients improved options for the treatment of many inflammatory diseases."

Aurora-based WSBI is currently advancing its lead molecule - WSBI-711, an antibody against two TCISM targets - into midstage pre-clinical testing. WSBI's other promising TCISM antibody and orally active small molecule therapeutic programs also are progressing towards pre-clinical development.

"TCISMs are a powerful new technology in the battle against autoimmune disease that has the potential to revolutionize standard of care," said Paul Tabor of the CU Technology Transfer Office." The university is very pleased to memorialize a partnership with Western States Biopharmaceuticals, a company we believe is ideally positioned to bring this technology forward."