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16 May 2018

Viatem finds path to commercialisation

University of Birmingham has spun out Viatem to develop a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis.

Author: Thierry Heles, editor

University of Birmingham established Viatem, a UK-based developer of a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, yesterday with an undisclosed amount of capital.

The funding was provided by University of Birmingham’s Enterprising Birmingham Fund, Innovate UK and West Midlands Academic Health Science Network.

Viatem will develop the peptide inhibitor of trans-endothelial migration (Pepitem), which plays a part in bringing immune cells into inflamed tissues.

Synthetic Pepitem has been shown to prevent or delay the onset of rheumatoid arthritis in animal models and is able to restore the regulation of white blood cell migration in human tissues.

Rheumatoid arthritis, which causes damage to joints, affects more than 20 million people across the world but there is currently no cure. Pepitem may also have applications in inflammatory bowel disease and type 1 diabetes.

The spinout is based on research at the university’s Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences.

James Wilkie, chief executive of University of Birmingham Enterprise, said: “Despite substantial innovation over the last few decades, there are still significant unmet needs in rheumatoid arthritis treatment.

“We are delighted to be commercialising this novel therapeutic target which is supported by a robust and increasing body of evidence.”

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