Tiziana acquires bio-repository from Shardna and establishes Sardinian subsidiary LonGevia


Aims to further enhance and develop its portfolio using data from the biobank and genomics research

Tiziana Life Sciences, a UK-based biotechnology company focused on developing treatments oncology and immunology, has bought key assets from Shardna, a biobanking and genomics research company located in Cagliari, Sardinia, for €258,000.

Tiziana has also established an Italian subsidiary in Sardinia, called LonGevia Genomics, specifically to develop these assets to identify novel drug targets and diagnostic applications, through integration with its global research network.

'The acquisition of Shardna represents an opportunity to study a unique collection of DNA samples from a homogeneous and well-characterised population,' said Prof. Napoleone Ferrara, a member of Tiziana’s Scientific Advisory Board. 'This could advance our understanding of ageing and other key pathophysiological processes and potentially result in diagnostic and therapeutic advances.'

Tiziana's Chairman and founder, Gabriele Cerrone said the aim is to generate insights into gene regulatory networks, genotype-phenotype linkage and gene-environment interactions that will feed into and inform the firm's drug discovery and diagnostic programmes.

'We believe our management team, who have collectively been instrumental in the discovery and development of blockbuster drugs such as Avastin and broadly adopted diagnostics such as the PSA test for prostate cancer, have the capability, expertise and insights to discover new drugs and diagnostics to address important unmet medical needs using this biobank resource,' he said.

The Shardna biobank, one of the largest and oldest in the world, includes 230,000 biological samples, from the almost 13,000 fully genealogically linked residents of the Ogliastra region of Sardinia. This genetically homogenous community has certified record data that traces back genealogy over 400 years and is supplemented with genotyping data and clinical status. The biobank is a uniquely rich and a potentially valuable source of scientific data.

The Ogliastra region has a prevalence of centenarians almost fifty times that of the US or UK. Indeed inhabitants have the second highest longevity after Okinawa Island, Japan.

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Shardna was founded in 2000 and was the first Italian research company in the field of genomics, created initially through a public private partnership. Research at Shardna was aimed at the identification of genetic and environmental factors which carry a predisposition to common multifactorial diseases through the study of the genetically homogeneous population from the isolated communities in the Ogliastra region.