Erytech and Queen’s University collaborate for arginase-1 deficiency treatment


French biopharmaceutical company Erytech Pharma has entered a research collaboration with Queen’s University in Canada to advance the preclinical development of its eryminase programme, particularly for the treatment of arginase-1 deficiency.

Arginase-1 deficiency is a rare and inherited metabolic disorder related to arginine metabolism.

It results in the disorder of the urea cycle caused by a mutation in the arginase-1 gene, thereby causing the accummulation of toxic levels of the amino acid arginine in the blood.

While arginase-1 deficiency generally appears in early infancy, the symptoms of the disease include intellectual disability, non-ambulatory muscle stiffness and seizures.

Arginase-1 deficiency is a debilitating and progressive disease with fewer treatment options currently available.

The collaboration between the two parties will make use of the expertise of Queen’s University along with Erytech Pharma’s ERYCAPS platform technology to generate in vivo data in an arginase-1 deficiency animal model.

"We are very pleased to enter this collaboration with Queen’s University and look forward to working closely on this important programme with Dr Funk who specialises in research related to urea cycle disorders."

The partnership demonstrates the potential of Erytech’s product candidate eryminase to reduce arginine in the inducible arginase-1 deficiency mouse model developed at the laboratory of professor Colin Funk of Queen’s University.

Erytech chief scientific officer Dr Alexander Scheer said: “This is our second collaboration in the field of rare metabolic diseases that underscores the scope of our platform and its applicability to highly specialised and rare conditions beyond oncology.

“We are very pleased to enter this collaboration with Queen’s University and look forward to working closely on this important programme with Dr Funk who specialises in research related to urea cycle disorders.”

Eryminase is currently under development and comprises an arginine deiminase enzyme encapsulated in red blood cells using the company’s ERYCAPS platform technology.

According to the company, the encapsulation of the therapeutic enzymes in the red blood cells can offer effective, long-acting therapeutic activity with reduced toxicity.