New VUB spin-off eTheRNA !
eTheRNA NV is a spin-off company of the VUB that was established in January 2013 under the leadership of Prof. Kris Thielemans - head of the VUB Laboratory for Molecular and Cellular Therapy (LMCT) focusing on the development of mRNA immunotherapies. eTheRNA has recently obtained the worldwide exclusive license rights on the TriMix technology from the VUB.
The TriMix technology is built around a unique protected mix of three plasmid-derived mRNA strands (coding for CD40L, CD70 and constitutive active TLR4) that both activates and educates (when combined with disease specific antigens) dendritic cells (DC) to stimulate the immune system. TriMix can be used to prevent and treat cancer, viral infections, auto-immune diseases and allergies. The beauty of the technology is that it can be used ex vivo (maturation and education of DCs in the test tube – injection of DCs in patients) or in vivo (direct injection of TriMix alone or in combination with antigens).
The ex vivo, autologous TriMix-DC product - in combination with tumor associated antigens encoding mRNA - has been validated in preclinical mouse models, in two phase I studies and one phase IIa study in melanoma patients (as stand-alone and in combination with ipilimumab). Studies in melanoma patients showed a benefit in 1-year survival, best overall response, disease control and progression free survival. Preclinical data of the in vivo TriMix product support the clinical development of the TriMix technology as a unique off-the-shelf vaccine using intra-nodal or intra-tumor application.
eTheRNA has teamed with Progress Pharma NV, a seasoned team of pharmaceutical professionals, and intends to secure the necessary financing means to initiate the clinical validation of the in vivo off-the-shelf TriMix product in both the intra-nodal and intra-tumor applications, while maintaining its existing mRNA contract manufacturing activities.
eTheRNA will also establish a preferential research collaboration with the VUB, in particular with the LMCT and with the UZ-VUB team of Prof. Bart Neyns.