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Humanigen, Inc.

Humanigen bolsters treatment of graft-versus-host disease in leukemia patients via licensing agreement with the University of Zurich

The Swiss university's GM-CSF protein neutralization technology was shown to mitigate graft-versus-host without stifling the positive effects of leukemia treatment

University of Zurich
GM-CSF neutralization is a boon to Humanigen's development of a treatment called allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell therapy

Humanigen Inc (OTCMKTS:HGEN) has a new tool in its box to prevent graft-versus-host disease when treating patients with leukemia and other blood cancers.

The Burlingame, California-based company announced Monday that it has received an exclusive licensing agreement from the University of Zurich in Switzerland to utilize its GM-CSF protein neutralization technology.

The agreement is a boon to Humanigen's development of a treatment called allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell therapy, which uses donor T cells to combat blood cancers in a process known as graft-versus-leukemia.

The problem is that the donor cells can also destroy healthy tissue by producing the protein GM-CSF, resulting in graft-versus host disease, which kills 50% of patients who contract it.

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That’s where the University of Zurich’s neutralization technology comes into play. A recent article in the journal of Science Translational Medicine demonstrated that negating the GM-CSF protein can cut down the harmful graft-versus-host while preserving the helpful graft-versus-leukemia.

The discovery significantly expands Humanigen’s intellectual property portfolio in preventing graft-versus-host disease.

“Humanigen has pioneered the strategy of neutralizing GM-CSF to improve the safety and efficacy of T cell therapies,” CEO Cameron Durrant said. “This license agreement builds on our leadership position aimed at breaking the efficacy/toxicity barrier that currently exists for T cell therapies, including allogeneic HSCT.”

The company's stock was flat Monday at $1.05.

Contact Andrew Kessel at [email protected]

Follow him on Twitter @andrew_kessel

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