ImageTherapy Development Institute and Asklepios BioPharmaceutical have entered into a collaboration to develop viral vectors for drug delivery.

The research will focus on developing delivery methods for compounds ALS TDI has identified as having the potential to slow or stop amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

Asklepios’ Biological Nano Particle (BNP) vectors will be used in conjunction with ALS TDI’s therapeutics to develop an effective treatment for ALS.

Steve Perrin, chief scientific officer at ALS TDI, said: “This project is an aggressive and proactive effort to develop the safest alternative therapeutic delivery options available today.

“By focusing on developing therapeutic strategies while operating the largest discovery biology program for this disease, we are preparing to rapidly move potential therapeutics through the drug development process with today’s patients in mind.”

Asklepios’ BNP vectors are synthetically designed using components from associated adeno viruses as well as other parvovirus. This allows for the creation of a delivery vehicle that can target specific areas and avoid detection from the immune system.

Since the vector avoids detection by the immune system there is not an aggressive response from the body, which has been a shortcoming of other genetic delivery methods.

Products using Asklepios’ BNP vectors are already in preclinical trials and this pipeline should be expanded through the collaboration with ALS TDI.

Financial details of the deal have not been disclosed but ALS TDI has revealed that it has been funded by the $18m it received from the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA).