The two recipients were selected for this year's prize for their outstanding research contribution to the development of a novel strategy for the treatment of asthma and related chronic inflammatory diseases. Prof. Garn and Prof. Renz identified the transcription factor GATA-3 as a promising target for the treatment of diseases characterised by an unbalanced activation of type 2 immune responses. GATA-3 plays a central role in the development and maintenance of T helper 2 cells which represents a key feature of the chronic inflammation in a major subset of patients. They combined this insight with a novel therapeutic approach based on DNAzymes as inhibitory molecules. In 2006, they co-founded the company sterna biologicals, which continues developing DNAzyme-based drug candidates for the treatment of asthma (SB010), atopic dermatitis (SB011), and ulcerative colitis (SB012).
Recently, the results of a Phase IIa clinical study in asthmatic patients were published in the New England Journal of Medicine (Krug et al., 2015), as well as important pre-clinical data in Gastroenterology (Popp et al., 2016) supporting an ongoing Phase IIa study in ulcerative colitis. Sterna biologicals congratulates its co-founders for this distinguished award and is looking forward to continued close collaboration.
Krug N, Hohlfeld J, Kirsten A, Kornmann O, Beeh K, Kappeler D, Korn S, Ignatenko S, Timmer W, Rogon C, Zeitvogel J, Nan Z, Bille J, Homburg U, Turowska A, Bachert C, Werfel T, Buhl R, Renz J, Garn H, Renz H. "Allergen-Induced Asthmatic Responses Modified by a GATA-3 Specific DNAzyme." New England Journal of Medicine (2015).
Popp V, Gerlach K, Mott S, Turowska A, Garn H, Atreya R, Lehr H, Ho I, Renz H, Weigmann B, Neurath M. "Rectal Delivery of a DNAzyme That Specifically Blocks the Transcription Factor GATA3 Reduces Colitis in Mice." Gastroenterology. 2016.
About sterna biologicals
sterna biologicals GmbH & Co. KG is an innovative clinical stage biopharmaceutical company developing novel treatments for chronic inflammatory diseases such as asthma, atopic dermatitis, ulcerative colitis, psoriasis, and COPD. By targeting transcription factors that play a pivotal role in regulating underlying inflammatory mechanisms, the company's DNAzyme-based drug candidates can intervene at a very early stage in the disease formation process.
Source: sterna biologicals GmbH & Co. KG