Immetas Therapeutics and GC Biopharma have announced a joint research partnership to discover and develop novel messenger RNA (mRNA) therapeutics for a variety of autoimmune diseases. The collaboration will use GC Biopharma’s mRNA therapeutic and lipid nanoparticle (LNP) delivery platforms in combination with Immetas’ proprietary platform for modulating innate immune pathways.

Yongin, South Korea-based GC Biopharma has been researching mRNA therapeutics since 2017. The company, formerly known as Green Cross Corporation, will design and produce mRNA constructs for “payload expression, selection of LNP and delivery formulations, and characterisation of the combination product candidates,” according to the company’s 12 October press release. Under the terms of the deal, Immetas will identify therapeutics targets and generate and characterise payload molecules. This will help ascertain disease indications for new treatments and create translational and clinical development strategies.

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Headquartered in New Jersey, US, Immetas Therapeutics specialises in the development of immune-modulatory treatments for chronic inflammation-mediated diseases. The company is currently researching bi-specific monoclonal antibodies for oncology that block pathological pro-inflammatory pathways.

GC Biopharma has a clinical development pipeline that spans multiple disease areas. The company recently succeeded in gaining a US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) orphan drug designation for its Thrombotic Thrombocytopaenic Purpura (TTP) drug candidate, GC1126A.

In a press release, GC Biopharma’s executive vice-president, Dr Jae Uk Jeong, said: “With our expertise in mRNA and nanoparticle delivery, this agreement allows us to jointly explore multiple projects with potential to make substantial improvements in the treatments offered to patients with autoimmune disorders.”

This collaboration arrives amid an industry-wide focus on mRNA therapeutics. Recently, the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine was awarded to the scientists whose research laid the groundwork for the new wave of mRNA therapeutics and vaccines. Research from the two winners, Katalin Karikó and Drew Weissman, has led to the successful development of vaccines from pharmaceutical giants such as Pfizer and AstraZeneca. Now, mRNA is being used to develop treatments and prophylactics for a range of areas, ranging from RSV vaccines to cancer immunotherapies. A 2022 GlobalData report predicted that the global mRNA therapeutics market could reach more than $2bn by 2028.

GlobalData is the parent company of Pharmaceutical Technology.