Tolerx, Inc. Forms Scientific Advisory Board to Advance Research in Type 1 Diabetes

Published: Nov 02, 2010

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Nov. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Tolerx, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company developing novel therapies to treat autoimmune diseases and cancer by modulating T cell activity, announced today that it has established a Scientific Advisory Board to help advance the company's research and clinical studies in type 1 diabetes. This Scientific Advisory Board will support the scientific advancements that underlie the company's lead drug candidate, otelixizumab, as well as guide the creation and execution of the company's future strategies for therapeutics for patients with type 1 diabetes. The founding members of the Tolerx Scientific Advisory Board will be Mark Atkinson, PhD, Peter Gottlieb, MD, Jerry Palmer, MD, and Bart Roep, MD, PhD.

"We at Tolerx are committed to developing a new therapeutic paradigm in type 1 diabetes, and we have made great strides thus far with our DEFEND program including two on-going Phase 3 clinical trials of otelixizumab, our lead drug candidate for type 1 diabetes," said Douglas J. Ringler, VMD, president and chief executive officer of Tolerx. "We welcome Mark, Peter, Jerry, and Bart to our efforts, and are delighted that this group of world-renowned scientific leaders will be joining Tolerx's Scientific Advisory Board to help us advance our breakthrough immunotherapeutic technology."

Mark Atkinson, PhD, is currently the American Diabetes Association Eminent Scholar for Diabetes Research at The University of Florida. He also is the co-Director for The Diabetes Center of Excellence at that institution. The author of over 225 publications, Dr. Atkinson is now in his 26th year of investigation in to the field of type 1 diabetes. Dr. Atkinson has been the recipient of multiple scientific and humanitarian based awards for these efforts. Those include three from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). The research program of Dr. Atkinson is broad in scope, but is ultimately directed at identifying a prevention and/or a cure for type 1 (i.e., insulin dependent, juvenile) diabetes. Key to achieving this goal is an improved understanding of the interactions between environmental, immunologic, and genetic factors that underlie the inability to form immunological tolerance to the insulin secreting pancreatic beta cells.

Peter A. Gottlieb, MD, is currently a Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine at the University of Colorado Denver. He is the center director for Type 1 Diabetes TrialNet at the Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes and a member of the Immune Tolerance Network. His clinical research focuses on the design and implementation of immune intervention trials to alter or prevent the progression of type 1 diabetes mellitus in prediabetic and newly diagnosed individuals. He has also developed assays to monitor and characterize human T cell responses to islet autoantigens. Dr. Gottlieb is an investigator participating in the DEFEND program.

Jerry Palmer, MD, is Professor of Medicine at the University of Washington, Director of the Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Nutrition at the Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System and Director of the Diabetes Endocrinology Research Center(DERC) at the University of Washington. Professor Palmer's extensive research focuses on the immunology of the type 1 diabetes disease process in humans. He plays a major role in several clinical trials of immunomodulatory therapy of type 1 diabetes. In addition, his laboratory has made pioneering discoveries relating to T cells in human type 1 diabetes and in patients with Latent Autoimmune Diabetes of Adults (LADA).

Bart Roep, MD, PhD, is Professor of Medicine, Diabetology and Immunopathology, Head of the Section Autoimmune Diseases at the Leiden University Medical Center and Director of the National Diabetes Expert Center in The Netherlands. He is founder and chairman of the national platform for clinical trials in diabetes. Professor Roep has focused on the role of autoreactive T cells in diabetes assessing human cellular immune responses, autoantigen identification, islet allograft rejection and the design and immunological monitoring of immuno-intervention strategies in clinical type 1 diabetes in the Netherlands. Professor Roep holds positions on a number of prestigious scientific advisory boards/research panels including the JDRF.

About Type 1 Diabetes

Diabetes (medically known as diabetes mellitus) is the name given to disorders in which the body has difficulty regulating its blood glucose (sugar) level. There are two major types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2. Type 1, previously known as juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes, is a disorder involving the body's immune system. In type 1 diabetes, the immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. As a result of the decrease in endogenous (natural) insulin production, patients must monitor their glucose levels frequently and administer insulin regularly to control their blood glucose levels.

About Otelixizumab

Otelixizumab is a targeted T cell immunomodulator being developed for the treatment of
type 1 diabetes and other autoimmune diseases. Otelixizumab targets CD3, a T lymphocyte receptor involved in normal cell signaling. Otelixizumab has not yet been approved for marketing. Data suggest that the antibody may work in patients with type 1 diabetes who have residual beta cells by blocking the function of effector T cells that mistakenly attack and destroy insulin-producing beta cells, while stimulating regulatory T cells that are understood to protect against effector T cell damage, thus preserving the beta cells' ability to make insulin.

About Tolerx

Tolerx, Inc., a world leader in the understanding of T cell function, is developing novel therapies intended to treat autoimmune diseases, diabetes, and cancer by specifically modulating T cell activity. The company's pipeline includes its lead candidate, otelixizumab, a targeted T cell immunomodulator in Phase 3 development for the treatment of type 1 diabetes that is partnered with GlaxoSmithKline. TRX1, a Phase 1 candidate, is a nonlytic anti-CD4 antibody that is being developed for the treatment of aberrant or untoward immune responses. The company also has three preclinical candidates, TRX518, TRX585, and TRX385, which enhance immune responses and as such are being evaluated for potential benefit in the treatment of cancer and chronic infections. Tolerx is a privately held company headquartered in Cambridge, MA USA. For more information, please visit

SOURCE Tolerx, Inc.

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