SAN DIEGO (February 25, 2009) A major asthma discovery by a researcher at the La Jolla Institute for Allergy & Immunology has been licensed by MedImmune, a leading innovation-focused biotechnology company and wholly owned subsidiary of AstraZeneca PLC. MedImmune licensed the discovery to explore its use in the development of a potential biologics drug for treating asthma.
Under the agreement, MedImmune was granted exclusive intellectual property rights to the discovery, which demonstrated the pivotal role of a protein called the OX40 ligand in asthma. The finding was made by the laboratory of La Jolla Institute scientist Michael Croft, Ph.D., and marked a major milestone in asthma research.
Asthma is a chronic disease of the airways that can cause wheezing, coughing and difficulty breathing. It is the most common serious chronic disease of childhood and is the third-ranking cause of hospitalization among U.S. children under age 15.
More than 30 million Americans (or 11.2 percent of the population) reported having a history of asthma in 2005, including nine million children, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 20 million Americans said they currently have the disease. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) estimates asthma-related health care costs in the U.S. at $14 billion annually.
La Jolla Institute leaders hailed the agreement as significant for asthma sufferers. "This agreement with MedImmune is an important first step towards the goal of translating some of Dr. Croft's groundbreaking work in the laboratory into an innovative therapy for improving the lives of asthma patients," said Mitchell Kronenberg, Ph.D., president and scientific director of the La Jolla Institute, a nonprofit biomedical research institute and international leader in immunology research.
Kronenberg added that such licensing arrangements are a central part of the mission of research inst
|Contact: Bonnie Ward|
La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology