Hemogenyx Pharmaceuticals Plc (LON:HEMO) University of Oxford collaboration

Hemogenyx Pharmaceuticals Plc (LSE: HEMO), a biotechnology company developing novel therapies to transform bone marrow, or blood stem cell, transplantation for the treatment of blood diseases, has entered into a collaboration with the University of Oxford to test new means of accelerating and improving the process by which transplanted blood stem cells grow and make healthy blood cells.

Hemogenyx will leverage the experience of researchers at the University of Oxford in administering certain biologics to stem cells to attempt to accelerate and improve the engraftment of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells in animal models. Engraftment is the process by which blood stem cells integrate into the bone marrow and make healthy blood. If successful, this approach has the potential to dramatically improve the efficiency and safety of bone marrow transplants.

Hemogenyx also will test whether this approach facilitates the conversion of Human Post-natal Hemogenic Endothelial Cells (Hu-PHEC), Hemogenyx’s proprietary source of blood stem cells, into fully functional, transplantable blood stem cells. Hu-PHEC generate cancer-free, patient-matched blood stem cells and are the basis of Hemogenyx’s cell therapy product. Using Hu-PHEC, Hemogenyx intends to revolutionize bone marrow transplants, improving the efficacy of the therapy and potentially eliminating the need to find a matching bone marrow donor, a problem that the majority of patients who need allogeneic bone marrow transplants currently face.

Blood cancers affect more than 1.1 million people in the United States each year and it is estimated that 171,500 new patients were diagnosed with blood cancer in 2016. Currently, up to 60% of patients who need allogeneic bone marrow transplants are unable to find a donor match for the procedure, and, for those who do manage to identify a donor, up to 50% of bone marrow transplants fail due to the body’s rejection of the transplant, complications from the procedure or a relapse of the disease. Hemogenyx seeks to fundamentally change how bone marrow transplantation is performed and allow more people who need transplants to be able to obtain them by eliminating the need for a donor and improving their efficacy.

Professor Jagdeep Nanchahal at the University of Oxford, who is leading the Oxford team in the collaboration with Hemogenyx, said: “I’m excited to be partnering with Hemogenyx on their ground-breaking medical research. The in-vivo tests Hemogenyx is about to conduct have the potential to improve stem cell engraftment for patients suffering from blood cancers.”

Dr. Vladislav Sandler, CEO of Hemogenyx, said:

“The collaboration between Hemogenyx and the University of Oxford promises to completely transform the treatment of blood cancers and turbo-charge the development of Hemogenyx’s Hu-PHEC technologies. By pairing Oxford’s established science and know-how with Hemogenyx’s advanced technologies, we are moving closer to developing reliable products that will eventually save lives.”

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