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Sonia Camaño, Mª Ángeles González-Nicolás, Alberto Lázaro, Alberto Tejedor and Blanca Humanes (Photo: liSGM).

Genesis Biomed drives Telara Pharma, a spin-off from the Gregorio Marañón Hospital

Thanks to the support of Genesis Biomed, Telara Pharma -a spin-off from Gregorio Marañón General University Hospital– has signed an exclusive worldwide licence agreement with the Canadian company Arch Biopartners for the use of cilastatin as treatment and prevention of acute kidney injury and sepsis processes. The consulting firm -based in the Barcelona Science Park and specialized in the biomedical sector- also contributed to the creation of the company, supporting the strategic management of the project and leading a €100,000 seed funding round.

Cilastatin is a small molecule inhibitor of the dipeptidase-1 (DPEP-1) enzyme developed in the 1980s to prevent degradation of the Imipenem antibiotic in the kidney. Until now, the use of cilastatin is limited to the combination in dual formulation with the antibiotic imipenem, and it has not yet been approved as a stand-alone product.

After a long research process started in the 90s, researchers from the Nephrology Service of the Gregorio Marañón General University Hospital, led by Dr. Alberto Tejedor, discovered that cilastatin protects the kidney by over 80% against the toxicity of drugs as widely used such as cisplatin, cyclosporine or gentamicin, essential drugs in the treatment of certain cancers, transplants or infections. Dr. Tejedor left us because of COVID-19 and the scientific leadership of the project was taken by Dr. Alberto Lázaro.

Dr. Alberto Tejedor (Photo: Gregorio Marañón General University Hospital).

The Gregorio Marañón Hospital patented this molecule that will become the first nephroprotector that has been developed and that will help prevent acute kidney failure in patients.  Through its Health Research Institute (IiSGM), the centre has already carried out all the pertinent preclinical trials and has published the studies in international scientific journals that support the results.

The new drug opens the possibility of improving and expanding the most effective treatments, currently known, for diseases such as cancer, HIV and immunosuppressants to prevent rejection in transplants, and the use of antibiotics for the treatment of infections that could not be used due to their high kidney toxicity. Furthermore, it has been shown that renal preservation contributes to a significant decrease in the mortality rate in septic patients.

Arch Biopartners has a molecule, metablok, with the same mechanism of action. The new licence opens the door for a new phase II trial for Metablok and cilastatin that paves the way for the best selection of DPEP-1 inhibitors therapies and for a faster arrival on the market for these molecules.

Genesis Biomed will brings support to Telara Pharma in the strategic management of the company and in promoting the Cilastatin project. On the other hand, Telara and the Gregorio Marañón Hospital will participate in the clinical development of cilastatin, led by Arch Biopartners.

Jordi Ortiz (Photo: Genesis Biomed).

Accordint to Jordi Ortiz, interim CEO of Telara Pharma and senior consultant for Genesis Biomed, “this licence agreement will reduce the time to market and will allow cilastatin to be administered to patients very soon. In addition, we will be able to fulfil the dream of the deceased Dr. Tejedor”.

In the opinion of Dr. Alberto Lázaro, co-founder of Telara, “all the years of research work will have been worth it if a single person benefits from the nephroprotective effects of cilastatin. We are getting closer and closer to the realisation of a phase II trial that demonstrates the clinical efficacy and hence the commercialisation for its use in the patient”.