Researchers Seek Biomarkers to Predict ATYR1923’s Effectiveness

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by Somi Igbene, PhD |

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aTyr Pharma

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aTyr Pharma has announced a collaboration with The Ohio State University (OSU) to conduct cell culture studies seeking to identify potential biomarkers that can predict ATYR1923’s therapeutic effectiveness in people with pulmonary sarcoidosis.

The research, which extends previous proof-of-concept findings, will delineate the pathways involved in sarcoid granuloma formation and evaluate the effect of ATYR1923 on granuloma formation in cell cultures (in vitro) of blood samples taken from people with sarcoidosis.

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“We look forward to working with aTyr on this important initiative to expand the current understanding of the underlying mechanisms involved in pulmonary sarcoidosis, particularly the formation of granulomas. This work has the potential to identify promising biomarkers that may be used to predict treatment response, including to ATYR1923,” Elliot Crouser, MD, said in a press release. Crouser is principal investigator of the project and professor of pulmonology, critical care and sleep medicine at OSU.

Sanjay Shukla, MD, president and CEO of aTyr, added: “We are very pleased to expand this research collaboration with OSU and Dr. Crouser. This collaboration will build upon the successful findings from research conducted with Dr. Crouser … which demonstrate the ability of a splice variant of histidyl-tRNA synthetase, the active portion of ATYR123, to disrupt sarcoid granuloma formation in vitro — a hallmark of this debilitating disease.”

ATYR1923 is being developed by aTyr as an immune-modifying protein that functions by binding to the neuropilin-2 receptor, a surface protein on immune cells that promotes inflammation and granuloma formation. ATYR1923 is designed to dampen the immune response in severe inflammatory lung diseases and is being evaluated now in a Phase 1b/2a study for its safety, tolerability, and pharmacokinetic profile in people with lung sarcoidosis.

“Current treatment options for pulmonary sarcoidosis are limited, and the ability to determine a patient population that may benefit from a potential treatment such as ATYR1923 presents the opportunity to take a much-needed step forward in managing this disease,” Crouser said.

Of note, it is estimated that more than 90% of all sarcoidosis patients develop pulmonary sarcoidosis. The disease is thought to affect 150,000 to 200,000 Americans.

“The research generated from this collaboration may help direct us to biomarkers indicative of a population that may be sensitive to treatment with ATYR1923, which could lead to improved patient outcomes,” Shukla said.