Xenetic Biosciences has entered into research funding and material transfer agreements with the University of Virginia (UVA) in the US to advance its systemic deoxyribonuclease (DNase) programme.

The parties will develop Xenetic’s DNase-based oncology platform.

The platform acts on neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs), weblike structures that comprise extracellular chromatin covered with histones and other proteins.

The new initiative addresses NETs associated with inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, as well as cancer progression.

Excessive levels of NETs can create pro-tumorigenic niches that may limit the effectiveness of cancer therapies.

The platform is designed to complement existing cancer treatments including immunotherapies.

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The agreements grant Xenetic an option to solely license any new intellectual property resulting from the DNase research programme. This is in addition to advancing the existing intellectual property of Xenetic.

Xenetic scientific advisory board member and UVA School of Medicine Department of Surgery chair Allan Tsung will oversee the research.

The company is preparing for a first-in-human clinical trial to assess DNase plus immune checkpoint inhibitors or chemotherapy.

Xenetic CEO Jeffrey Eisenberg stated: “We believe the data generated by our research and development collaborations are key to fully unlocking the potential of our DNase technology and importantly, providing translational insights as we drive a clinical path for our lead solid tumour indications.

“These agreements provide a significant addition to our development capabilities and resources, and we believe it bolsters our opportunity to accelerate development timelines.

“Additionally, we are pleased to deepen our work with Dr Tsung, who has provided a valuable perspective to our team and significant insight for our DNase platform.”