UW News

September 14, 2011

Katze lab signs contract with Revalesio to study novel approaches to viral diseases

UW Health Sciences/UW Medicine

Revalesio, a pioneering biotechnology company based in Tacoma, recently signed an 18-month contract with the Katze lab at the University of Washington to bring hope to sufferers of influenza, HIV and hepatitis C.

(Revalesio said it does not disclose financial terms of research agreements.)

“We are excited to work with Dr. Katze, a world-class researcher in his field,” said Richard Watson, director of clinical science at Revalesio.

Michael Katze, a professor of microbiology, director of the Center for Systems and Translational Research on Infectious Disease and associate director of the Washington National Primate Research Center, runs a lab of 35 researchers focused on systems biology approaches to define and model virus-host interactions and the varied strategies used by viruses to evade cellular defense mechanisms.

The lab studies a wide range of viral pathogens, including hepatitis C, influenza, ebola, West Nile, SARS-associated coronavirus, herpes simplex virus and human and simian immunodeficiency viruses.The agreement with Revalesio will test whether the firm’s anti-inflammatory technology has an effect on influenza, HIV and hepatitis C viruses. Virus infection will be a new area of exploration for Revalesio.

Katze said that he systems biology approaches his lab uses allows researchers to gain a more global view of the complex interactions that occur when a cell encounters a pathogen. He said these approaches hold great potential to help elucidate the underlying mechanisms by which therapeutic agents work to combat a pathogen and thus impact the disease process.

Revalesio has partnered with leaders in biomedical research around the world to develop its anti-inflammatory technology for the treatment of a wide range of inflammatory diseases such as asthma, Parkinsons disease, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimers disease and cardiovascular disease using an approach called  charge-stabilized nanostructure technology.

Revalesio is a pioneer in the novel use of charge-stabilized nanostructures as therapeutic agents. According to researchers, charge-stabilized nanostructures alter a cells ability to transmit signals through voltage-gated ion channels and other voltage-sensing proteins. Through these effects on the cell membrane, charge-stabilized nanostructures reduce inflammatory signals that are linked to numerous diseases, including neurodegenerative, respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.

Revalesio is currently exploring therapeutic applications for asthma, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and cystic fibrosis. The therapeutics for asthma and cardiovascular disease are now in clinical trials.

“Our motivation is to bring hope to people suffering from disease,” said Watson.

Watson said Revalesio wanted to work with the Katze lab because of the labs track record of applying cutting edge technologies in combination with traditional virology techniques to understand biological response.

Katze said his lab is looking forward to exploring Revalesio’s approach.

“The therapeutics that they have under development are very promising in many disease areas,” he said. “Our hope is that this collaboration will expedite the development of a promising new therapy.”

Revalesio has also signed a master agreement with UW, which will facilitate future collaborations between the University and the biotech firm.