Pfizer has entered a licence agreement with Serina Therapeutics for its drug delivery technology for small molecules.
Pfizer will now have access to Serina’s POZ platform, which includes lipid nanoparticle delivery systems for RNA-based therapeutics.
Under the terms of the deal, Pfizer will license Serina’s POZ platform drug delivery technology non-exclusively, according to a 17 November press release.
US-based Serina has based its POZ platform on poly(2-oxazoline), which is a synthetic, water-soluble, and low-viscosity polymer. The platform works via enzymatic drug release. A drug is first attached to side groups on the polymer using a cleavable linker, based on the company’s website. The plasma enzyme butyrylcholinesterase then releases the active drug.
Serina says that the technology allows drugs with narrow therapeutic windows, such as those used to treat neurological disorders like Parkinson’s disease, to be designed for more stable levels in the blood.
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The biotech adds that its platform was designed to address the limitations of PEG (polyethylene glycol) – the most commonly used polymer in biomedical applications. However, there are concerns over PEG’s immunogenicity, which means the polymer could trigger an immune response against itself. Serina states that POZ neither elicits an immune response nor stimulates the development of antibodies.
Serina Therapeutics’ executive board chair Dr Milton Harris said: “We are excited about the license to Pfizer for its use of the POZ polymer technology in initial research and development activities.”
In August, Serina entered an agreement to merge with publicly listed US biotech AgeX Therapeutics. The merger, which is expected to close in Q1 2024, will see the new company keep the Serina name, trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker “SER”.
Serina is also using its delivery technology for its own Parkinson’s disease treatment candidate SER-252. The company aims to submit an investigational new drug application for a Phase I trial of SER-252 at the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), based on a 30 August press release. The study will be initiated in Q4 2024.