The University of Cambridge has joined forces with Beaufour Ipsen Group, a Europe-based global pharmaceutical company, to develop and commercialise new treatments for inflammatory disease.

Dr David J Grainger, a Royal Society Fellow at the University of Cambridge, has identified a family of peptides and small molecules that exhibit the ability to inhibit migration of inflammatory cells. While the majority of reported chemokine inhibitors are specific for one or a selected group of chemokines, the compounds identified by Dr Grainger exhibit broad chemokine inhibitory activity. These compounds have demonstrated efficacy in a variety of animal models, including those for atherosclerosis, asthma, stroke, endotoxemia and dermal inflammation.

Under the terms of the agreement negotiated by the University's Technology Transfer Office, Beaufour Ipsen will fund research in Dr Grainger's laboratory, located in the Department of Medicine, Clinical School of Medicine at the University of Cambridge, and make additional payments related to commercialisation of products resulting from Dr Grainger's research.

The University of Cambridge will provide Beaufour Ipsen with exclusive worldwide rights to develop and market the chemokine inhibitory compounds discovered by Dr Grainger. Beaufour Ipsen will manage all phases of product development, including clinical trials and regulatory submissions.

"We are delighted to be working with Dr Grainger to develop his chemokine inhibitory compounds, which will further expand Beaufour Ipsen's strong commitment to the development of peptide-based pharmaceuticals," said Jacques-Pierre Moreau, Beaufour Ipsen group Vice President Research & Development.

"Dr Grainger is a remarkable young investigator, and his chemokine inhibitory compounds show great promise in the treatment of chronic inflammatory diseases, as evidenced by Dr Grainger's numerous publications in peer-reviewed journals. We are particularly enthusiastic about the prospect of employing these compounds in the area of pulmonary fibrosis."

"This agreement illustrates the University's commitment to the formation of commercial partnerships which translate our laboratory discoveries into drugs capable of treating previously incurable conditions," said Dr David Secher, Director of Research Services at the University of Cambridge.

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