September 17, 2008

Sirtris Signs Licensing Agreement With Harvard University

Sirtris, a GlaxoSmithKline company focused on discovering and developing small molecule drugs to treat diseases of aging such as Type 2 diabetes, has completed an agreement with Harvard University to exclusively license two patent applications covering SIRT3-based methods of treatments and assays.

Sirtuins are a family of enzymes which regulate the aging process and have been the subject of extensive research. While SIRT1 - the founding member of this class of enzymes - is currently the most studied in the group, considerable research is said to be underway on other members in this family, SIRTs 2-7.

The company has said that a study by its scientific advisory board members and Harvard University scientists showed for the first time that activation of SIRT3 and SIRT4 protects against cell damage. The findings further validated sirtuins as important targets for treating diseases of aging. The two patent applications being exclusively licensed from Harvard include assays useful for identifying SIRT3 activators for diseases of aging.

Christoph Westphal, CEO of Sirtris, said: "This agreement will enable us to further advance our research in SIRT3 activators for various metabolic and neurodegenerative diseases. We will continue to expand our work on SIRT3, which will broaden the potential of our drug discovery platform."