Cambridge, Mass, June 13, 2023
Cambridge, Mass. (June 13, 2023) – eGenesis, a biotechnology company developing human-compatible organs for the treatment of organ failure, today announced the publication of a paper in the journal Nature Communications highlighting novel findings from the largest cohort of long-term non-human primate (NHP) recipients of porcine kidney xenotransplantation to date. Scientists closely studied 17 cynomolgus macaque monkeys that survived more than 60 days after receiving kidneys from eGenesis-produced Yucatan minipigs engineered to address organ rejection and eliminate risk of viral transmission.
“Taken together, our collective findings provide additional evidence demonstrating the ability of the xenotransplanted kidneys to carry out normal physiological function over extended periods,” said Katherine Hall, Ph.D., Principal Scientist of eGenesis. “They also inform areas for monitoring and potential pharmaceutical intervention in the first-in-human clinical setting for renal xenotransplantation. As we look ahead to initiating clinical studies, robust preclinical assessments will be a crucial part of developing safe and effective transplantable organs.”
The study evaluated the ability of porcine xenografts to carry out renal endocrine functions through two kidney-dependent pathways – the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone-system (RAAS) and calcium-vitamin D-parathyroid-hormone (PTH) axis. Results showed inefficient participation of porcine xenografts in the recipient renin-angiotensin-aldosterone-system (RAAS) pathway, but suggested that xenografts can participate in production of active vitamin D. In addition, xenograft associated hypercalcemia and hypophosphatemia was found to be PTH independent.
Chronic kidney disease affects between 8 and 16 percent of the population worldwide, and demand for donor kidneys far outpaces supply. One approach to alleviating this global issue is xenotransplantation, or the transplantation of organs from one species to another. Porcine kidneys are similar in size and function to human kidneys. Recent advances in gene editing technologies have enabled the generation of porcine donor organs with favorable properties, including reduced immunogenicity and inactivation of endogenous pathogens.
“The combination of eGenesis’ proprietary gene editing and next-generation immunosuppression technologies mitigates both viral risk and cross-species molecular incompatibilities, allowing durable recipient survival post-transplantation,” said Michael Curtis, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of eGenesis. “These data support continued development of this promising approach toward human clinical studies.”
About Transplantation and Xenotransplantation
Organ failure is a life-threatening condition for which transplantation is considered the gold standard treatment. However, the growing demand for organs far outstrips supply – of the more than 100,000 individuals on the organ transplantation waitlist in the U.S., less than 40% will receive a potentially life-saving organ. In addition, the existing organ failure treatment paradigm is suboptimal for patients and the healthcare system due to organ incompatibility and variable donor organ quality.
Xenotransplantation – the transplantation of cells, tissues, and organs from one species to another – is widely viewed by the transplant community to be a viable solution to address the organ shortage crisis. The advent of cutting-edge gene editing technologies, such as CRISPR, has enabled scientists to address the virologic and immunologic hurdles that have historically prevented the advancement of xenotransplantation.
eGenesis is leveraging a genome engineering-based approach in the development of safe and effective transplantable organs. The company’s platform is the only technology of its kind to address both viral risk and cross-species molecular incompatibilities. eGenesis has demonstrated durable preclinical success to date and is advancing development programs for acute liver failure, kidney transplant, and pediatric as well as adult heart transplant. Learn more at www.egenesisbio.com.
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