Immunis inks licensing deal with Toray for potential sarcopenia drug

Opioid receptor agonist identified as a ‘promising pharmaceutical complement’ to Immunis’ existing sarcopenia program.

US biotech Immunis has agreed a licensing deal with Japanese pharmaceutical company Toray, securing development and commercial rights to TRK-820, an opioid receptor agonist originally developed for treating severe itching. Irvine, California-based Immunis, which specializes in secretome therapies for age-related diseases and immune dysfunction, plans to reformulate TRK-820 to target sarcopenia, a condition characterized by age-related muscle loss.

The secretome refers to substances that are secreted (released) by cells, including exosomes, micro-vesicles, proteins, growth factors, hormones, cytokines, and other cellular secretions that aid in bodily repair and regeneration. These beneficial factors diminish with age, but Immunis claims it has developed a method to replenish them. Using immunomodulatory secretome products, the company is tackling various manifestations of immune decline, including age-related muscle deterioration.

Immunis says that preclinical studies indicate that TRK-820 could complement IMMUNA, its human-derived regenerative biologic designed to reverse muscle loss, promote muscle growth, and enhance metabolism. One of the potential benefits of TRK-820 is its oral administration, offering a different mechanism of action to IMMUNA. The company is now validating the potential efficacy of TRK-820 in reversing sarcopenia and plans to apply for a Phase 2 clinical trial to assess its impact in humans.

Immunis is also currently conducting a Phase 1/2a clinical trial in muscle atrophy, which aims to assess the safety and tolerability of IMMUNA in participants with muscle atrophy related to knee osteoarthritis.

READ MORE: Our exclusive interview with Immunis Chairman Dr Hans Keirstead.

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