French pre-clinical development company Alma Bio Therapeutics has extended its strategic alliance with Belgium-based Delphi Genetics to advance the development of plasmid DNA drugs for the treatment of an underlying cause of uncontrolled inflammation in autoimmune diseases.

Delphi Genetics is focused on developing advanced technologies for the bioproduction of plasmid DNA, recombinant proteins and antibodies.

Alma Bio develops treatments to cure autoimmune diseases and handles Crohn’s disease, one of the two major types of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), as its first clinical application.

Alma Bio Therapeutics CEO Binah Baum said: “Delphi Genetics is an ideal partner. It has scientific excellence, high-quality bio-production services and an established track record with big pharma.

“We are delighted with the strong vote of confidence its management has given our game-changing therapeutic approach to treating autoimmune diseases. With their expertise, we believe our programme to demonstrate the safety and efficacy of our therapies in patients should move rapidly.”

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Under the alliance, Delphi Genetics will manufacture the plasmid DNA drugs required to add to Alma’s pipeline and complete the regulatory studies essential to submit an Investigational New Drug (IND).

"Delphi Genetics is an ideal partner. It has scientific excellence, high-quality bio-production services and an established track record with big pharma."

The pipeline of the French company comprises a product family of plasmids DNA encoding heat shock proteins (HSPs), which are body molecules that function as self-antigens to regulatory T-cells.

HSPs possess pro-resolution activity, which offers therapies significant for treating autoimmune disease due to their ability to restore the delicate balance between healthy cells (regulatory T-cells) and the rogue cells (pro-inflammatory effector T-cells) the immune system is designed to eliminate.

Activating the immune system to regulate itself would mark a major improvement over the way autoimmune diseases are currently treated.

The first target of Alma is Crohn’s disease, a chronic debilitating autoimmune disease of the gastrointestinal tract and one of the two subtypes of IBD.

Image: Alma Bio Therapeutics chief executive officer Binah Baum. Photo: courtesy of Andrew Lloyd & Associates.