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Kyttaro and OUI logos, each in a jigsaw piece, slotting together.

Kyttaro Limited announced that it entered into a worldwide licensing agreement with Oxford University Innovation (OUI) to develop and commercialize an antiinflammatory peptide technology platform that is based on naturally occurring proteins derived from ticks that have evolved over millennia to target and inhibit key components of the human immune system.

The technology, which was developed by Prof. Shoumo Bhattacharya’s group at the University of Oxford, with funding from the British Heart Foundation - the leading cardiovascular disease research charity in the UK - has the potential to treat a wide range of inflammatory conditions across multiple therapeutic areas including cardiovascular disease.


Atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD), such as coronary artery disease (CAD), is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide despite extensive use of existing ASCVD therapies (e.g. statins). It is estimated that CAD, which involves plaque formation in the blood vessels supplying the heart, is the most common heart disease in the US with 20M affected individuals and that CAD was responsible for c.360k US deaths in 2019. Inflammation has been identified as a key risk factor in ASCVD that promotes disease progression and is associated with ASCVD-related complications.


Emerging evidence from clinical studies showed that reducing inflammation on top of standard therapy has a clinical benefit and reduces cardiovascular events. Kyttaro’s licensed peptide technology platform has the potential to tackle ASCVD-associated inflammation in a targeted and precise manner to reduce ASCVD risk and save patients.


Under the licensing agreement, OUI will provide Kyttaro with an exclusive, worldwide license covering all fields to develop and commercialize the peptide technology platform in return for undisclosed upfront, milestone and royalty payments. Kyttaro will advance the preclinical technology into the clinic in close collaboration with the inventor Prof. Bhattacharya, who is joining the Kyttaro team as a member of the Scientific Advisory Board.


Prof. Bhattacharya is a world-leading cardiologist and academic who currently holds a British Heart Foundation Chair and is a Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at the Radcliffe Department of Medicine, University of Oxford. His primary role as British Heart Foundation Chair and his laboratory’s focus at the Wellcome Centre for Human Genetics has been the development of novel therapeutics and targets (including the novel anti-inflammatory peptide technology). Prof. Bhattacharya received his medical degrees from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi and trained as a cardiologist in Northwick Park and Hammersmith Hospitals in London. Prior to joining the University of Oxford in 1998, he received British Heart Foundation and NIH fellowships to work at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute with Prof. David Livingston, the former deputy director and chairman of the Executive Committee for Research of the Harvard Institution.


Kyttaro, a Cambridge Science company, launched its lab in The Oxford BioEscalator on the Old Road Campus, a world-class centre for medical research and clinical care, to advance the development of pre-clinical peptide technology in the clinic. The BioEscalator is the biotech incubator of the University of Oxford and a world-class launching pad for high growth start-up and spin-out companies carrying out innovative science that has the potential to make a significant positive impact on healthcare in its broadest sense. The BioEscalator offers lab space and support to biotechs and facilitates close collaboration between companies, academia and medical institutions associated with the University. The University of Oxford’s Old Road Campus houses many world-leading institutes and academics that tackle a range of biomedical problems.


Douglas Eby, CEO of Kyttaro and Cambridge Science, commented: "Cardiovascular disease, the world’s leading cause of death, has been underinvested in for decades by the biopharmaceutical industry. The recent discovery of novel genetically validated ASCVD targets, new therapeutic modalities and the pivotal CANTOS trial, which established the efficacy of anti-inflammatory therapy in ASCVD, have the therapeutic class on the precipice of a new era in research and development. The potential for novel drugs, providing much-needed solutions for patients suffering from ASCVD, is very encouraging. Prof. Bhattacharya’s exciting anti-inflammatory science is a great example of this movement in cardiovascular disease, and the Kyttaro team is looking forward to working with him and OUI to advance the technology into the clinic and ultimately to commercial status."


Prof. Shoumo Bhattacharya, inventor of the technology and Principal Investigator at the Radcliffe Department of Medicine, University of Oxford, stated: “I am looking forward to collaborating with the team at Kyttaro to accelerate the development of the anti-inflammatory platform technology that is based on naturally occurring proteins that have evolved in parasites for millions of years to circumvent the human body’s immune response. This technology offers hugely promising treatment options for inflammatory conditions including cardiovascular disease.”


Dr Abhimanyu Garg, leading lipid expert and Co-Chair of Kyttaro’s Scientific Advisory Board, stated: “Despite extensive use of ASCVD therapies (e.g. statins) that target lipids, a key ASCVD risk factor, ASCVD is a leading cause of mortality and morbidity that affects millions of people in the US and worldwide. There is an unmet need for novel therapies that target additional ASCVD risk factors such as inflammation and I believe this novel anti-inflammatory peptide technology platform has the potential to address this need and save patients from heart disease. I am also enthusiastic about Prof. Bhattacharya, a leading cardiologist and academic, joining Kyttaro’s Scientific Advisory Board.”


Original Press Release