AGC Biologics has entered into a service agreement with the Jikei University in Japan for an idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) project.

The company will undertake a technology transfer and feasibility study for a drug product focused on the treatment of IPF at its centre of cell and gene expertise in Milan, Italy.

Researchers there will identify proof of concept, as well as the viability of developing a prototype of an exosome-based treatment derived from bronchial epithelial cells.

AGC Biologics stated that present research at the Jikei University School of Medicine revealed the important role that extracellular vesicles can play in IPF pathogenesis. These vesicles are extracted from a bronchial epithelial cell.

Pre-clinical trials may begin later in 2023, if the feasibility study is successful.

AGC Biologics Milan general manager Luca Alberici said: “The emerging field of exosomes has the potential to become an important part of the cell and gene industry.

“We welcome the opportunity to help further the important work of the Jikei University in Japan, a historic research and medical institute.

“This partnership demonstrates AGC Biologics’ ability to offer scientific ingenuity and to support researchers’ and developers’ needs as they explore new therapies and methods within this field.”

With the potential to provide a targeted approach to drug delivery, exosomes have demonstrated how to make cell and gene therapies more commercially viable for large populations.

The Jikei University School of Medicine principal investigator Dr Yu Fujita said: “Our research is specifically designed to discover how we can better understand and treat IPF, a condition that can drastically impact lung health.

“With only two current treatments on the market, it would be a paradigm-shifting change to create a new option for patients using the power of exosomes.”

Cell & Gene Therapy coverage on Pharmaceutical Technology is supported by Cytiva.

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