Pieris Pharmaceuticals and the University of Melbourne receive grant

To advance Anticalin-based therapeutic for inhaled delivery to treat asthmatics

The University of Melbourne in Australia has received a research grant to develop Pieris Pharmaceuticals' Anticalin-based therapeutic, PRS-060, in immunological diseases.

The $AUS500,000 grant, which will support the German pharmaceutical company's Australian subsidiary, Pieris Australia, and is distributed by Australia's medical research funding body, the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), covers activities to advance PRS-060 for inhaled delivery to treat asthmatics.

Stephen Yoder, President and Chief Executive of Pieris, said the company is a nimble organisation with a broad reach, and the announcement underpins its strategy of pursuing opportunities on a global scale to marry its Anticalin drug candidates with complementary disease biology capabilities.

Lead investigator, Professor Gary Anderson, Director of the Lung Health Research Centre at the University of Melbourne, explained: 'PRS-060 works by blocking a key protein, IL-4 receptor alpha, which integrates signals in 'type 2 immunity' that both initiate and sustain asthma. Recent clinical trials in severe asthma using systemically administered monoclonal antibodies that block IL4Ra – or a protein that acts through it, IL-13 – have shown striking results, leading to marked improvement of lung function, improved symptoms and reduced use of oral steroids.'

The grant awards a total of AUS$564,061.50 (US$444,125) between 1 January 2015 and 31 December 2016, for technical and development activities on PRS-060, which is currently in preclinical development.

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