Walden Biosciences, Inc. (Walden), a private, venture-backed biotechnology company focused on transforming the treatment of kidney disease, today announced that the Company has entered into a research collaboration with the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor (U-M) to advance cutting-edge research in the area of the genetics of soluble urokinase plasminogen activating receptor or “suPAR.”
The research will be conducted through a collaboration with U-M’s Principal Investigator, Salim Hayek, M.D., a National Institute of Health-funded physician-scientist with expertise in renal disease, cardiovascular disease, and biomarker and risk prediction research. One of Dr. Hayek’s most notable contributions to research has been his characterization of suPAR as a pathogenic factor, causative agent, and a druggable target in kidney disease. Dr. Hayek is a member of Walden Biosciences’ Scientific Advisory Board.
U-M will collaborate with Walden Biosciences in connection with Dr. Hayek’s ongoing research in the area of suPAR and Walden will provide materials, consultative support, data analysis, and may perform experiments to support the work, including the role of polymorphisms in the PLAUR gene, which is the gene responsible for the production of suPAR. Under the terms of the agreement, each party will cover its own expenses in the conduct of the collaboration with a goal to jointly draft and publish a paper describing Mendelian Randomization, a method using measured variation in genes to interrogate the causal effect of an exposure on an outcome, to ascertain the role that suPAR may play in disease, particularly chronic kidney disease.
“We are delighted to be working with Dr. Hayek’s lab to advance suPAR science in order to demonstrate its causality in chronic kidney disease and other important disease indications where suPAR may play a role,” said Alex Duncan, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer of Walden Biosciences. “The data generated to date is compelling and we look forward to using genetic tools to further validate and support the strong correlation between suPAR and its effects on chronic kidney disease.”
“This collaboration with Walden supports the University of Michigan’s goal to be at the forefront of scientific discovery to accelerate the translation of scientific findings to clinical practice in order to improve patient care. Together, we have the unique opportunity to potentially transform the treatment of kidney disease,” said Dr. Hayek.