UZH researchers have co-founded Seito Biologics AG to develop a new treatment for autoimmunty. After several years of research at the Department of Immunology of the University of Zurich, the team is now ready to take the next step with their approach, which is based on selective Treg cell engagers (TREX).
A well-functioning immune system is essential for our health. This is also evident in patients suffering from autoimmune diseases, which affect an estimated 4% of the world population. There exist more than 80 different types of autoimmune diseases, including type 1 diabetes mellitus, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and systemic lupus erythematosus. These diseases are chronic and lack a cure.
Effector immune cells play an important role in fighting dangerous microbes and cancer. However, in autoimmune diseases effector immune cells can attack healthy tissues because they are insufficiently controlled by regulatory T (Treg) cells. At the Department of Immunology, led by Professor Onur Boyman, the team discovered a method to selectively activate Treg cells, thereby restoring their function in autoimmune disease, which in turn prevent damage of healthy organs. Dr. Ufuk Karakus has been working on this technology for more than 8 years and was awarded a UZH Entrepreneur Fellowship and an SNF BRIDGE Fellowship to facilitate its translation to the clinic. He developed a clinical candidate of a novel Treg cell engager (TREX) to boost Treg cells. His research resulted in several patent applications that form the basis of Seito Biologics.
The co-founders of Seito Biologics are Dr. Ufuk Karakus, Ms. Valerie Scholtes, Prof. Dr. Miro E. Raeber, and Prof. Dr. Onur Boyman.
Seito Biologics is currently seeking funding for development of its lead candidates.
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