IXO Therapeutics Ltd, a new biotechnology company formed to research and develop novel medicines from natural sources for the treatment of immune-mediated and inflammatory diseases, launches today (13 December 2010).
The new company, a start-up from the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and focused on the development of intellectual property (IP) derived from both NERC's Centre for Ecology & Hydrology and the University of Oxford, aims to develop recombinant protein products that will treat inflammation and diseases that affect the body's immune system. These proteins are all derived from natural sources and several are already being developed that will address unmet clinical and commercial need.
The portfolio of products is based on the work of Professor Pat Nuttall's group at the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, in collaboration with research groups at the University of Oxford.
The portfolio includes a novel dendritic cell modulator - these cells are key regulators of the immune system and are found, for example, in the lymph nodes and spleen - and an LTB4 inhibitor. LTB4 is a key component of the immune system and encourages the white blood cells to attack disease, but in inflamed tissue it can actually exacerbate the condition. The IXO LTB4 inhibitor is a binding protein that will balance out the body's inflammatory response.
Professor Nuttall said, "The launch of IXO today is an important step forward as the research is now at a transitional stage. IXO expects to develop and produce a number of anti-inflammatory compounds that will target diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis - conditions that are in urgent need of new clinical approaches."
Professor Alan Thorpe, Chief Executive of NERC, said, "The transfer of knowledge from basic, long-term research such as this into start-up companies - where ideas are generated and turned into jobs - will aid economic growth. There is a significant opportunity for IXO Therapeutics to deliver both medicinal and economic value to the UK as the company develops its products."