Ochre Bio, a biotech company developing RNA medicines for chronic liver diseases, announced today the launch of their ‘Liver ICU’.
Housed in BioLabs@NYULangone, a biopharma incubator in New York City, this research site will evaluate the efficacy of new RNA therapeutics on whole human livers maintained on machines. The use of discarded donor livers for research is expected to enhance the timeliness and accuracy of liver medicine research by testing interventions directly in human livers maintained under conditions mimicking human physiology.
This site is a part of a network of three leading liver perfusion research sites across the US. The other two US research sites are the laboratory of Greg Tietjen, PhD at Yale University, a pioneer in the field of ex vivo organ research, and LifeShare of Oklahoma, a leading US organ procurement organization. In addition, Ochre Bio is also announcing a partnership with OrganOx, a company at the forefront of changing the way donor livers are preserved in the critical time between donation and transplantation, and one of the first companies to have a liver perfusion device approved by the FDA.
This research will involve hundreds of donor livers being kept alive outside the body for multiple days each. These are donor livers that cannot be used for transplant patients for various reasons, and so would be otherwise discarded. The livers will be maintained in human physiological conditions and used to test therapeutic interventions, with the goal of finding new therapies to improve liver transplant outcomes, in the hopes of thereby increasing the supply of transplantable livers, as well as uncovering insights relevant to a wider set of liver diseases. Greg Tietjen’s research group at Yale and LifeShare of Oklahoma will work with the Ochre research team towards being able to consistently perfuse organs for several days to study the effects of RNA therapy on liver performance.
“We’re excited to announce this new research site in the US, as well as these partnerships with world leaders in liver perfusion research and transplant medicine,” said Jack O’Meara, CEO & Co-Founder at Ochre Bio. “This collaboration to evaluate the effects of RNA therapy directly in human livers preclinically is a step change for liver research, that we hope will lead to treatments for a number of liver diseases, and one day reduce the burden of liver transplantation for patients.”
“Thanks to the collaborative efforts of Ochre Bio, OrganOx, Yale University and, LifeShare of Oklahoma, the unique capabilities of the OrganOx metra are enabling multi-day isolated organ perfusion research and facilitating a new and exciting approach to developing novel therapeutics for liver diseases. We look forward to seeing the results of this approach leave research and enter the clinic in the future.” said Craig Marshall, CEO, OrganOx.
“We view this work as an opportunity to honour the profound gift that every donor organ represents. While the organs enrolled in this study may not save the life of one transplant recipient, they have the potential to save hundreds of thousands of lives in the future by enabling breakthrough new therapies from Ochre Bio to treat end-stage liver disease,” said Gregory Tietjen, PhD, Assistant Professor of Transplant Surgery, Yale School of Medicine.
“I am honoured to be a part of the outstanding team of innovators at Ochre Bio. Researchers from Ochre Bio, Yale University and LifeShare of Oklahoma are working together on strategies to bring innovation to transplant and liver disease treatment. We are proud to partner with innovators such as Ochre Bio, who refuse to accept the current status quo, and are working tirelessly to advance new therapies for patients with liver diseases,” said Clint Hostetler, Vice President of Clinical Operations, LifeShare of Oklahoma.
"Our core philosophy, as a data-led genomics company, is that the best research in human research. Deep phenotyping of how human livers respond to therapies as an alternative to animal models is a huge advancement for this field of science," said Dr Quin Wills PhD, CSO & Co-Founder at Ochre Bio. “It’s like running clinical trials where we can directly study the organ we’re treating. We’re excited to lead the field and partner with these outstanding organizations to advance our understanding of liver biology.”