Aptorum Enters Agreement With Yale to Develop, Investigate Novel Immunomodulators

Partnership Puzzle Pieces

Clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, Aptorum Group Limited, announced today that it has entered into a material transfer and option agreement with Yale University to study preclinical stage novel immunomodulators targeting autoimmune and oncology diseases. Aptorum Group’s stock is reportedly up 6% premarket following the announcement of the material transfer and option agreement with Yale.

Specifically, the novel immunomodulators under investigation will be used to target rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and sclerosis, among other possible disease indications. Overall, the new agreement gives Aptorum responsibility for evaluating Yale’s novel immunomodulators against lupus, arthritis, inflammatory bowel diseases, neurodegenerative diseases, or other oncology indications.

If the research is successful and the candidates are acquired, Aptorum Group’s novel immunomodulators may rival those from other big-name companies developing these drugs, including ImmuNext. However, this might take time as ImmuNext’s novel immunomodulators have been partnered with other large pharmaceutical companies, including Janssen, Sanofi and Roche. 

Another company developing a novel immunomodulator candidate is Israeli late clinical-stage pharmaceutical company Tarsier Pharma, studying TRS01 for uveitis in a Phase III trial. 

Aptorum said in a statement that it has also obtained an exclusive option from Yale University to in-license these immunomodulators as well as affiliated intellectual property rights. 

These property rights include Yale’s patent rights and immunomodulator expertise. Upon exercising its licensing option, the company will also seek to develop and commercialize one or more of the immunomodulators. 

“Aptorum believes that these immunomodulators have the potential to advance first-in-class drug discovery and development of such drugs for potential autoimmune and oncology diseases in particular,” said Aptorum Group’s Chief Executive Officer, Ian Huen. “For example, it has been widely reported that COVID-19 infections often trigger a cytokine storm in patients leading to undesirable and often fatal autoimmune reactions and we will also explore the potential applications of the immunomodulators for the treatment of these cytokine storms.”

The company has been highly active in the field of infectious diseases. In late March, Aptorum announced it had dosed its first human participant in a first-in-human Phase I clinical trial orally administered small molecule drug ALS-4, which the company hopes to investigate as a treatment for infections caused by Staphylococcus aureus, such as MRSA. The Phase I trial is enrolling up to 48 healthy volunteers for the single-ascending dose and 24 healthy volunteers for the multiple ascending dose groups. 

“Since 1958, when vancomycin was first approved, only one additional agent, daptomycin (of which both antibiotics are primarily IV based treatment requiring patients to remain in in-patient settings during treatment) has gained regulatory approval for the treatment of MRSA bacteremia and despite this, clinical failure and mortality rates for this major infectious disease remain critically high,” said Aptorum Group’s Chief Medical Officer and Executive Director, Dr. Clark Cheng, in a statement. “Subject to the upcoming clinical trial, we believe ALS-4 could be a potential new anti-infective agent adopting a unique anti-virulence approach to achieve effective outcomes for these patients.”

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