NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) — Pikamab said today that it has exclusively licensed a pair of US patents from the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York to develop a theranostic product to help guide drug development and patient treatment for lupus and lupus nephritis.
The first US patent, No. 5,830,652, provides methods for determining the severity of lupus and lupus nephritis by correlating to the functional polymorphisms in FcGR genes.
The second patent, No. 7,022,476, provides the use of FcGR-2B promoter polymorphisms to assess the occurrence and susceptibility patterns of lupus in humans. One of the polymorphisms in FcGR-2B is enriched in lupus patients of European descent, Pikamab said.
Robert Kimberly, professor of medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and director of the UAB Comprehensive Arthritis, Musculoskeletal, and Autoimmunity Center, co-invented technology covered by the '652 patent while he was a professor of medicine at HSS. Kimberly also is a member of Pikamab's advisory board and has an undisclosed equity stake in the company.
Jane Salmon, co-director of the Mary Kirkland Center for Lupus Research at HSS, is also a co-inventor on the '652 patent.
Additional terms of the licensing agreement were not disclosed.
"We are incredibly pleased to secure these rights from HSS, a global leader in the areas of rheumatology and lupus research," Vijay Ramakrishnan, founder and CEO of Pikamab, said in a statement. "Some of the seminal contributions such as the first demonstration of impaired clearance of immune complexes in SLE patients, the identification of the role of Fc receptors in phagocytosis, and the identification of FcGR-2A as the first human lupus gene were made by HSS investigators."
Pikamab, based in Menlo Park, Calif., said that it is developing a theranostic product called Lupus Therasight, and intends to partner with biopharmaceutical companies developing lupus drugs to develop combination products.
Pikamab said it is also developing a CLIA-certifiable test, which it expects to be available next year to enable physicians and payers to incorporate Lupus Therasight as part of routine patient treatment protocols.