Parkinson’s disease partnership sets sights on cell therapy

Pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies Takeda and NsGene have joined forces to develop an encapsulated cell therapy for neural regeneration in Parkinson’s disease.

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Japanese pharmaceutical company Takeda (Osaka, Japan) and Danish biotechnology company NsGene (Ballerup, Denmark) have announced a partnership to develop encapsulated cell therapies for the potential treatment of Parkinson’s disease. The partnership will focus on the delivery of recombinant GDNF to affected brain regions via implanted, encapsulated cell therapy devices.

GDNF has been identified as a neuroregenerative growth factor holding promise in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, through promotion of axon growth and protection of dopaminergic neurons when delivered directly to the diseased cells for an extended duration. However, problems with drug delivery to affected portions of the diseased brain have proved to be a major hurdle. Through this new collaboration, the potential of surgically implanted recombinant cells housed within a device to directly secrete GDNF on site will be explored, with the aim of promoting neuron survival and regeneration.

By developing an experimental technology that originated at Brown University (RI, USA), NsGene has produced a clinically applicable cell therapy platform. The device consists of an immune-shielding capsule containing genetically engineered cells which can continuously produce therapeutic levels of biotherapeutics for an extended time after implantation.

NsGene will receive funding from Takeda for technology development enabling NsGene to complete critical milestones key to clinical trials and further constructive partnering.


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