REGiMMUNE: Molecules and programs




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Video title: REGiMMUNE: Molecules and programs
Released on: November 24, 2010. © PharmaTelevision Ltd
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  • Summary
  • Transcript
  • Participants
  • Company
In this episode of PharmaTelevision News Review, Fintan Walton talks to Haru Morita, CEO & President, about the origins and technology of REGiMMUNE. They discuss:

• Mechanism of reverse vaccination

• Molecules and programs in preclinical stage and specific targets

• Funding and partnership strategies
Origins and technology of REGiMMUNE
Fintan Walton:
Hello and welcome to PharmaTelevision News Review here at the Japan Biotech Forum at The Royal Society in London. On this show I have Haru Morita, who is the CEO and President of a company called REGiMMUNE which is based in Tokyo, welcome to the show.
Haru Morita:
Thank you very much.
Fintan Walton:
REGiMMUNE, is a biotech company an emerging company within Japan, your company is very specialized in the area of reverse vaccination as I understand it, could you tell me a little bit about the origin of the company and the technology that's associated with that company?
Haru Morita:
Okay, the company was established in 2006 along the IP developed at RIKEN. RIKEN is Japanese leading research institute, and the technology developed at RIKEN is their target specific immunosuppressant technology and we name it as reVax.
Mechanism of reverse vaccination
Fintan Walton:
Could you tell me little bit about what reverse vaccination means? What's the actual underlying mechanism?
Haru Morita:
So the reverse vaccination is to reduce immunosuppressant immune reaction target specific, so like existing immunosuppressant which wipe out T-cell and released to our the pound immunosuppressant we can do a target specifically, because our immune system is the barrier of our body so it need to be kept maintained.
Fintan Walton:
So in another words you can target specific parts of the immune system so they are suppressed, but the rest of it is healthy and the patient is therefore healthy?
Haru Morita:
So it's just like the normal vaccination which activating the immune reaction towards the target, we do that the other way around.
Fintan Walton:
Reverse to that?
Haru Morita:
Yes.
Molecules and programs in preclinical stage and specific targets
Fintan Walton:
Okay, so that's now you've got a number of molecules in preclinical stage could you tell us what those molecules are and their specific targets?
Haru Morita:
Yes, the first molecule is for a Graft-versus-host disease and we have filed IND in United States that is to reduce immune reaction associated with hematopoietic stem cell transplantation and that can treat that patient to receive the chemotherapy and radiation therapy and receive the donor stem cell transplantation.
Fintan Walton:
Okay, so that's the first one and that's still in preclinical?
Haru Morita:
Yes, but it's entering into clinic.
Fintan Walton:
It is entering into clinic?
Haru Morita:
Yes.
Fintan Walton:
And when do you plan to take it into clinic?
Haru Morita:
Later this year.
Fintan Walton:
Okay, and are you doing that on your own or you going to do that in association with another company?
Haru Morita:
We are, the problem is it's funded by Japanese Government and so we can that grant can take us to the clinic. [PharmaDeals ID = 31819]
Fintan Walton:
So the other two molecules the two other programs that you have could you tell us about those two?
Haru Morita:
The one program is for Cedar Allergy, then cedar pollinosis is a very, very problematic in Japan may be you are now familiar with the Cedar Allergy, but just like our grass pollinosis or other Allergy it causes a lot of the symptoms.
Fintan Walton:
And at the moment is that still an unmet clinical need for that in Japan?
Haru Morita:
Yes, currently we have of course we have around the symptom controlling drug like antihistamine, but in Europe I believe there this instantiation therapy for grass pollinosis that is to inject the antigen from very lower dose toward the high dose, but the problem of that therapy is it takes time, it takes it requires a lot of shot more than 30 shots for a course and even you reached at the top dose you never know if it works for it or not.
Fintan Walton:
So your approach would be a one shot?
Haru Morita:
Yes, one or just two or three shot.
Fintan Walton:
Okay, and so that's your second program, the third program is?
Haru Morita:
Third program is one for our Type I diabetes. So Type I diabetes is caused by the autoantigen against insulin, so and then insulin is damaged by the autoantigen. So the patient need to receive a lifelong injection of insulin, but our drug can induce our turns against the insulin which result in the no auto-antibody against the insulin.
Funding and partnership strategies
Fintan Walton:
Your company REGiMMUNE is you've mentioned that at least one program is got backed by government funding from grants, from government sources is that true for all your research? Where do you get your funds from?
Haru Morita:
We have we are funded by our Japanese Venture Capital and so far we have raised our US$15 million from our first deal of Japanese Venture Capitals.
Fintan Walton:
So you are pretty well backed?
Haru Morita:
Yes, so far so good.
Fintan Walton:
It's so far so good. So obviously like all biotechnology companies at some point you want to partner with a larger pharmaceutical company, when do you plan to do that?
Haru Morita:
For the first program the one for Graft-versus-host disease that we are looking for a partner and likely that target is to the target obviously is pharmaceutical company after Phase I clinical trial. And of course in Allergy it's also funded by Japanese Government grant, so the fund can take us to the end of a preclinical study.
Fintan Walton:
In today's climate and when you look at your company and Japan and the Japanese funding of biotechnology companies are you optimistic about how your company is going to do in the next four or five-years?
Haru Morita:
Yes, the situation is of course pretty bad, yes but in the mean time there are only limited number of a surviving company, so that give us the opportunity to get more attention from venture capital and also pharmaceutical company.
Fintan Walton:
So in someways it's a good thing, if you are a strong company it's good.
Haru Morita:
Yes.
Fintan Walton:
Haru Morita, thank you very much indeed for coming on the show.
Haru Morita:
Thank you very much.
Fintan Walton
Dr Fintan Walton is the Founder and CEO of PharmaVentures . After completing his doctoral research on the genetics of cell proliferation at the University of Michigan(US)and Trinity College (Dublin, Ireland), Dr Walton gained broad commercial experience in biotechnology in management positions at Bass and Celltech plc (1982-1992).
Haru Morita
President
Haru Morita , has served as President, Chief Executive Officer and Director of REGiMMUNE since March 2006. Prior to REGiMMUNE, Mr. Haru Morita served on the management teams of Y's Therapeutics, Ltd. and Y's Therapeutics, Ltd., most recently as Director of Business Development with responsibility for corporate planning as well. Mr. Haru Morita 's professional experience also includes management consulting at Booz Allen and Hamilton (Tokyo office). In this capacity as consultant, he helped clients to establish and implement strategy not only in pharmaceutical business but also in other area such as chemical and consumer products. Prior to that, Mr. Haru Morita worked as a research scientist in the medical research division of Kirin Brewery Co. Ltd (lately it merged into Kyowa-Hakko-Kirin). At Kirin he was a part of the research and development team that was first to clone Megakaryocyte Growth and Differentiation Factor (MDGF or Thrombopoietin). He received both a BS in Chemical Engineering and an MS in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Tokyo.
PharmaVentures
PharmaVentures is a corporate finance and transactions advisory firm that has served hundreds of clients worldwide in relation to their strategic deal making in the pharmaceutical, life science and healthcare sectors. Our key offerings include: Transactions / deal negotiations; Product / technology valuations; Deal term advice; Due diligence & expert reports; Strategy formulation; Alliance management; and Expert opinion for litigation/arbitration cases. PharmaVentures provides the global expertise to ensure our clients generate the highest possible return on investment from all their deal making activities. We have experience of all therapeutic areas and can offer advice on both product and technology commercialisation.
REGiMMUNE
The REGiMMUNE is a biotechnology company focused on the discovery, development, and potential commercialization of immune-regulatory therapeutics to treat life-threatening diseases and debilitating disorders, including allergies, autoimmune and inflammatory disease. REGiMMUNE applies its reVax (reverse vaccination) technology and product development and clinical experience to generate, support and potentially commercialize a broad range of products for itself and its partners. REGiMMUNE's business strategy is to develop novel and proprietary products focused on therapeutics areas that can be addressed with immune-regulating technology and expedite programs by actively using outside resources and partnering with biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies to leverage technology assets. REGiMMUNE Corporation 's growth is driven by our flexible and precision management based on clear-sighted vision.