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Benitec, ReNeuron extend research collaboration to develop cellular therapies

Australian biotechnology firm Benitec Biopharma has introduced a new exploratory cellular therapy program including exosome-based delivery using its ddRNAi technology.

The move has been facilitated by the start of a collaboration between Benitec and ReNeuron, a UK-based stem cell therapeutics firm.

The new program will use Benitec’s ddRNAi technology to address serious diseases using derived exosomes as delivery agents.

The launch of this program follows positive initial data that has been generated in work performed at both companies indicating the feasibility of this approach.

Both the firms have completed a series of in vitro experiments that show that stem cells transduced with ddRNAi-expression constructs produce exosomes that are effective at delivering expressed shRNAs to target cancer cells and to knock down a specific gene in those cells.

Benitec CEO Dr Peter French said: "The application of ddRNAi to stem cells and derived exosomes represents a unique combination of stem cell biology, gene therapy and gene silencing.

"It opens up a wide array of possibilities for extending the utility of core technologies from both companies for application into new therapeutic areas.

"Having ReNeuron as a collaborator on this approach increases the chances of success as their knowledge of stem cell science coupled with their unique therapeutic platforms are tremendous assets in this area."

The data also showed that ReNeuron’s stem cells could be more effective than mesenchymal stem cells for this purpose.

These preliminary results could open the potential for platform technologies from the two companies to be extended into a wide range of new therapeutic applications.