Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc. has obtained an exclusive, worldwidelicense agreement from Austin Research Institute of Melbourne,Australia, covering the compositions and uses of galactosyltransferase technologies in Alexion's UniGraft program.The agreement calls for Alexion of New Haven, Conn., to giveAustin Research an undisclosed up-front commitment and royalty.The partners also agreed to a research collaboration in which somefunding will be made by Alexion.Alexion's UniGraft is aimed at creating therapeutic "universaldonor" replacement parts - animal cell and organ products that canbe administered or transplanted into patients without clinicalrejection by the immune system. The agreement provides Alexionwith another tool allowing porcine xenogenic (animal to human)cells and organs to escape immune surveillance. Followingtransplantation, the complement cascade is triggered by pre-formedhuman antibodies that recognize the transplanted cell or organ asforeign.The company said there is strong evidence that more than 75percent of these natural antibodies are directed against a veryspecific carbohydrate marker - a galactose alpha (1-3) galactoseepitope located on the surface of most porcine cells.
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