Anika Therapeutics (NSDQ:ANIK) has inked an agreement with the Institute of Integrative Biology at the University of Liverpool to develop an injectable mesenchymal stem cell therapy to treat osteoarthritis.
As a result of the three-year research collaboration, the group hopes to have a lead candidate that it can take into clinical trials.
“We are very excited to partner with the University of Liverpool and Professor Hollander to continue his research into an innovative treatment for osteoarthritis patients,” Anika CEO Charles Sherwood said in prepared remarks. “This research will consist of a novel product design and pre-clinical testing, that has the potential to produce an advanced therapy to treat the joint damage and pain caused by this debilitating condition.”
“Cellular therapy is already being used in some countries for osteoarthritis with some evidence that it transiently reduces pain,” Anthony Hollander, head of the Institute of Integrative Biology, added. “Our new approach to cellular therapy may provide a durable treatment for osteoarthritis.” He added, “This collaboration with Anika will allow us to accelerate any discoveries through to clinical and commercial development.”
This is the second collaborative deal that Anika has inked this year. In January, the Bedford, Mass.-based company extended its two-year-long collaboration with the Institute for Applied Life Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
That group plans to focus its efforts on developing a novel therapeutic candidate to treat rheumatoid arthritis.