Washington Research Foundation (WRF) has awarded a $250k phase 2 technology commercialization grant to support the development of a novel gene therapy for the treatment of severe asthma and eosinophilic esophagitis by investigators Sinduja Marx, PhD, and Jason Price, PhD, postdoctoral scholars at the Olson Lab in Seattle Children’s Research Institute.
WRF previously provided Dr. Price with a phase 1 grant of $58,000 that supported the generation of antibody targets that will be used during the phase 2 antibody discovery campaign and the development of a new gene therapy platform.
Before being approved for human use, new medical treatments undergo rigorous testing in animal models. However, human therapeutic targets may be different or absent in animal models. These discrepancies can cause treatments that are ineffective or unsafe in animal models to be incorrectly deemed ineffective or unsafe in humans, hindering the progression of promising treatments to clinical trials. It is in this challenging landscape that a team led by Price and Marx pioneered a method for isolating antibodies that bind a desired protein target across different species. They are now using this method to discover cross-species reactive binders that will facilitate the development of a novel targeted gene therapy aimed at treating eosinophilic esophagitis and severe asthma.