CDRD and viDA collborating to develop treatment for Discoid Lupus Erythmatosus (DLE)

October 22, 2015 – CDRD – The Centre for Drug Research and Development

Two British Columbia-headquartered biotech organizations are expanding their successful collaboration to develop much needed treatments for patients living with Discoid Lupus Erythmatosus (DLE). The Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD), Canada’s national drug development and commercialization centre, and viDA Therapeutics Inc. (viDA) a privately-held biotech company have been working together to develop viDA’s patented lead drug candidate, VTI-1002, advance it to a commercial stage, and in doing so, position the company for further private sector investment and/or strategic partnership.

The drug compound is a highly-specific and potent inhibitor of an enzyme, Granzyme B (Gzm B), which has been found in elevated levels in patients with autoimmune and chronic inflammatory diseases including lupus, abdominal aortic aneurysm, chronic skin ulcers, Crohn’s disease, and multiple sclerosis. Discoid Lupus Erythmatosus (DLE) is a chronic dermatological disease that can have a significant effect on quality of life due to severe facial scarring, patches of alopecia and or mutilation of the outer ear. There are over 130,000 DLE patients in the US and Canada alone.

Currently, patients rely on the use of topical (skin creams or gels) corticosteroid and anti-malarial medications which are relatively inexpensive but of limited therapeutic value due to lack of performance and potential undesired side effects. Therefore there is a strong unmet clinical need to develop a therapy in this area. CDRD synthesized and provided GzmB inhibitor drug compounds that were used by viDA as part of validating the GzmB as a target for their therapeutic strategy. viDA’s novel treatment will be initially delivered by a topical cream, and the two partners are now collaborating to develop a clinical-grade formulation to support further efficacy studies and eventual human trials.

CDRD’s President and CEO, Karimah Es Sabar said, “Our partnership with viDA Therapeutics has demonstrated that collaboration is paramount to commercializing new therapies, and is a great example of how CDRD can support not only academic scientists, but also small- and medium-sized Canadian enterprises. By bringing our expertise and specialized infrastructure to bear, we have helped enable the building of a strong local biotech company, and ultimately broader industry – all while bringing new hope to patients.”

viDA’s President and CEO, Alistair Duncan added, “There is an immediate unmet clinical need to develop an effective therapy. Working with CDRD has helped to accelerate the development of our technology in addition to generating additional funding from industry. This has allowed us to hire more staff and investigate other uses beyond DLE – essentially building viDA’s core value and strategic positioning.” CDRD is now working with viDA on target validation studies for Gzm B in other autoimmune diseases.

About The Centre for Drug Research and Development:
The Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD) is Canada’s fully-integrated national drug development and commercialization centre, providing expertise and infrastructure to enable researchers from leading health research institutions to advance promising early-stage drug candidates. Our mandate is to de-risk discoveries stemming from publicly-funded health research and transform them into viable investment opportunities for the private sector — thus successfully bridging the commercialization gap between academia and industry, and translating research discoveries into new therapies for patients. Canada’s Networks of Centres of Excellence Program has recognized CDRD as a Centre of Excellence for Commercialization and Research (CECR).

About viDA Therapeutics, Inc.:
viDA Therapeutics Inc. (viDA) is a biotechnology company advancing a platform of first-in-class therapeutics based on inhibitors to a well-characterized protease target, Granzyme B (GzmB), based on a new mechanism of action. viDA’s lead program is the development of a topical treatment for a rare autoimmune skin disorder, Discoid Lupus Erythematosus (DLE). viDA is building a proprietary library of small molecules and biologics that target extracellar GzmB which is applicable to multiple therapeutic targets. Inhibition of extracellular GzmB has shown utility across many therapeutic indications and efficacy in a number of predictive models of disease including tissue repair, vascular, aging and inflammation.


Julia White, Manager, Communications
Telephone: 604-827-1226 | Mobile: 604-307-2372

Alistair Duncan, President & CEO
Telephone: 778-373-0916