The University of Utah, one of the nation’s leading research universities, and TikkunLev Therapeutics, a gene therapy company, have announced a new partnership to accelerate an innovative heart-failure gene therapy. The agreement is an exclusive world-wide license and includes a sponsored research program to support future FDA filings.
The discovery of cBIN1, a molecule lost in heart failure, at the U’s Nora Eccles Harrison Cardiovascular Research and Training Institute (CVRTI) by U professor Robin Shaw, led to a pursuit of gene therapy to regain the heart’s organization and function.
“When we first discovered cBIN1 we did not realize its potential to be a master regulator of heart cell internal organization and overall cardiac function. We are thrilled that it both helps failing hearts and recovers failing heart muscle,” said Shaw.
“TikkunLev Therapeutics is honored and privileged to be working with the University of Utah and CVRTI to bring their cBIN1 heart failure gene therapy innovation to the clinic,” said TikkunLev Therapeutics CEO Steve Rosen. “The experimental therapy has shown impressive performance in large animal studies that reverse heart failure.”
The partnership includes a large investment to continue researching heart failure treatments. “To support the program, TikkunLev will be investing approximately $13 million in a sponsored research program to support IND enabling studies,” Rosen said. “TikkunLev will be establishing a presence in the Salt Lake City area and hope to add further momentum to the vibrant and growing biotechnology sector there.”
The agreement was facilitated by the university’s Partners for Innovation, Ventures, Outreach & Technology (PIVOT) Center. As one of the top research institutions in the United States, the U is a burgeoning source of early-stage innovation and PIVOT Center is often called on to propel these innovations to market.
About the University of Utah
The University of Utah is the state’s flagship institution of higher education, with 18 schools and colleges, more than 100 undergraduate and 90 graduate degree programs, and an enrollment of more than 32,000 students. The University serves as a catalyst for the regional innovation economy, having supported the launch and growth of over 300 companies and conducted more than $640 million in annual research.
About TikkunLev Therapeutics
TikkunLev Therapeutics is a gene therapy company for heart failure treatment. TikkunLev aims to transform the standard of care for Heart Failure (HF) by introducing a novel diagnostic test that will identify early-stage HF, when the disease is most treatable, and treating those patients with a novel gene therapy to correct architectural protein defect in patients with failing hearts, restoring normal function to the heart. TikkunLev Therapeutics is assembling a team of experienced scientific and business experts in the diagnosis and treatment of Heart Failure and gene therapy product development and commercialization. The Company integrates the necessary IP from innovator institutions and is raising capital to fund the work at The University of Utah and in the Company.
About the Partners for Innovation, Ventures, Outreach & Technology (PIVOT) Center
The Partners for Innovation, Ventures, Outreach & Technology (PIVOT) Center leads the University of Utah’s centralized and integrated strategy and operation for technology commercialization, corporate engagement, and economic development. In doing so, PIVOT Center serves as a hub for the University to foster partnerships between industry, university, and government entities. The center formalizes the university commitment to broaden its impact on Utah’s economy by enhancing local and global collaborations to catalyze innovation. The center’s mission is to generate economic returns for the university and the state of Utah, expand the university’s reputation for innovation, and positively impact society. The U was recently ranked 2nd among large research universities for “innovation productivity impact.”
CVRTI is an independent 40,000 square foot cardiac research institute on the University of Utah Health Sciences campus that provides a highly integrated approach to the study of basic and translational cardiac biology. The Institute is the largest freestanding collection of cardiac muscle biology, metabolism, and electrophysiology researchers in the country. Features include a fully equipped large animal operating room for pre-clinical studies.
About Dr. Shaw
Dr. Robin Shaw is a Professor of Internal Medicine and the Director of the Nora Eccles Harrison Cardiovascular Research and Training Institute (CVRTI) at the University of Utah. His clinical interest is patients with cardiovascular disease including heart failure. Dr. Shaw earned his undergraduate degree at Brown University, and his medical degree and doctorate in biomedical engineering at Case Western Reserve University. He received his internal medicine and cardiovascular disease training at the University of California San Francisco where he remained on the faculty until 2013 when he moved to the University of California Los Angeles and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. He joined the University of Utah and CVRTI in 2019.