Montreal, QC December 10, 2003 Drug discovery company Chronogen says it has secured an exclusive worldwide license from McGill University for screening assays for targets and drugs useful in the treatment and prevention of lipid disorder linked to atherosclerosis.
The licensed technology is based on discoveries made by Dr Siegfried Hekimi, PhD, founder and chief scientific officer of Chronogen and professor of biology at McGill. Dr Hekimi’s recent discoveries, partly described in an article published in the December 5, 2003 edition of Science, indicate that mutations in clk-1, a longevity gene, reduce the oxidation of LDL, which is the main factor in the development of atherosclerosis in people. This is shown through the exploration of an interaction of clk-1 with the worm homologue of the microsomal triglyceride transfer protein (MTP), which is known to be required for LDL production in humans.
“This is a significant discovery, especially when put in perspective of recent findings on the association of longevity with lipid metabolism, implicating both the size and blood levels of lipoprotein particles”, says Iraj Beheshti, president and CEO of Chronogen. “This technology licensing is a continuation of our strategy to expand Chronogen’s intellectual property domain in the field of aging and age related diseases. It gives us the means to look for drugs that directly work in vivo, in a whole animal. Importantly, we now have strong evidence the assay is critically linked to modulations in lipoprotein production.”
“This is a perfect example of McGill realizing a central element of its research philosophy by helping a daring research concept to become a meaningful reality,” says Alex Navarre, director of McGill University’s Office of Technology Transfer. “Chronogen is one of the few drug discovery companies specialized in genes that control the aging process. McGill is pleased to have contributed its outstanding technology to this unique venture.”
In addition to this license agreement, Chronogen and McGill also concluded a multi-million dollar research collaboration to develop pre-clinical models that will guide the selection of clinical indications for new drug candidates. Chronogen says it has an exclusive option to future intellectual property rights and novel biological models and reagents created in this context in the Hekimi laboratory.