Mallinckrodt inks photopheresis R&D pact with specialist Transimmune

Handshake business deal executives
Mallinckrodt offers its photopheresis treatment for cutaneous T-cell lymphoma through the Cellex treatment system, which it picked up in its $1.33 billion acquisition of Therakos in 2015. (Pixabay)

Mallinckrodt is joining forces with Transimmune on extracorporeal photopheresis research. The specialty pharma offers photopheresis as a treatment for skin symptoms linked to cutaneous T-cell lymphoma; the partners aim to boost understanding of how this mechanism works and potentially develop next-generation technologies for the treatment and expand its use to several other immune-mediated diseases. The partners also plan to bring the technology platform through new clinical trials. 

Extracorporeal photopheresis involves taking a patient’s blood and then isolating the white blood cells, according to UT Southwestern. The white blood cells are treated with the drug 8-methoxypsoralen and then exposed to ultraviolet light before being returned to the patient. These white blood cells are targeted because, in the case of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL), they are abnormal. 

Mallinckrodt offers its photopheresis treatment for CTCL through the Cellex treatment system, which it picked up in its $1.33 billion acquisition of Therakos in 2015. It is indicated for patients with skin lesions associated with CTCL and for whom other treatments have not worked.

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“The companies intend to explore a joint commercial collaboration arrangement related to a next-generation Mallinckrodt photopheresis system,” they said in the statement. 

Potential applications for the platform include CTCL, graft-versus-host disease, organ transplant rejection and all autoimmune diseases. Under the agreement, treatments for these indications would be exclusively licensed to Mallinckrodt. 

"Mallinckrodt invests in assets and technologies to further their application in conditions with few or limited therapeutic options, and for the treatment of underserved patients with severe and critical conditions," said Mallinckrodt CSO Steven Romano, M.D., in the statement. "This agreement is an example of our model of collaboration and partnership with experts in both basic and clinical research—similar to the recent collaborative research partnership announced with Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis—to expand our access to innovative science and technology in areas of mutual interest."

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