NEW YORK, March 6 - Looking to validate its database and take another step toward drug discovery, AxCell Biosciences has signed a letter of intent with Thomas Jefferson University to study protein interactions linked to an undisclosed tumor-suppressor gene, the company said on Wednesday.
According to the terms of the partnership, which begins immediately, university researchers will use select data from AxCell's ProChart database of signal transduction pathways to "advance the functional understanding" of the gene and its proteins.
Though financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, AxCell and TJU will jointly own IP derived from the collaboration, though AxCell will retain an exclusive option to negotiate an "exclusive, worldwide, royalty-bearing license" from the school for any joint IP.
The research, which initially lasts for one year, will be led by Kay Huebner, professor of microbiology and immunology and Carlo Croce, professor and chair of microbiology and immunology, both from the Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University.
"The function of this particular tumor suppressor protein is not yet clear, however, the presence of signaling domains implies that other proteins may participate in the pathway," said Huebner. "AxCell's signal transduction database should allow us to learn more about this protein and accelerate drug discovery efforts."
AxCell, a Newtown, P.-based subsidiary of Cytogen, is eager to move its technology downstream through research partnerships and other alliances. It currently has deals cooking with groups like Mount Sinai School of Medicine, in New York, and Pluvita, of Bethesda, Md.