French Biotech and Canadian University to treat Rare Disease with Red Blood Cells

July 12, 2017 - 1 minute

Erytech Pharma has entered a partnership with Queen’s University to treat the rare disease arginase-1 deficiency using engineered red blood cells.

Erytech, based in Lyon, is known for its unique technology for drug delivery. Its most advanced program, in Phase IIb for metastatic pancreatic cancer, employs red blood cells engineered to produce the enzyme L-asparaginase, which depletes the amino acid asparagine from the bloodstream to starve the tumor cells that, unlike healthy cells, depend on the amino acid to survive.

The company is now looking to use the same approach to treat arginase-1 deficiency, a rare metabolic disorder that causes the excessive accumulation of asparagine in the blood and brain. In collaboration with experts from Queen’s University in Canada, Erytech plans to conduct animal studies to obtain data to support this approach and, if everything goes well, expand its indications beyond cancer.

Image via Rost9 / Shutterstock

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