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New Member Spotlight: ArunA Bio

 “The field of exosomes is growing exponentially as pharmaceutical and biotech companies seek ways to enhance the delivery of drugs throughout the body,” said Tracey Stice, Chief Operating Officer at ArunA Bio, “Unlike many companies just starting out in the field, ArunA has amassed more than 13 years of experience manufacturing human neural stem cell lines and is well positioned to move ahead with plans to leverage the therapeutic potential of our proprietary neural exosomes to treat patients with a wide range of neurodegenerative disorders.”

Discovered over 30 years ago, exosomes were originally thought to have no therapeutic potential. Recently, they have generated immense interest in the scientific world as ‘mediators of intercellular communication,’ capable of delivering functional proteins to cells throughout the body. Noted as one of the most promising emerging therapeutics, capable of addressing the need for regenerative therapy, extra cellar/exosome (EVs) are sourced from stem cells and are produced by virtually all cell types. Since exosomes contain molecules that are protected during transit, they are the key to intercellular communications and in ArunA Bio’s case, have the ability of crossing the blood brain barrier (BBB).

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Stice explained, “Exosomes are a natural micro-sized product produced in our stem cells. These exosomes bleb (or bubble) off cells during growth and differentiation and serve as messengers to other cells and tissue throughout the body.”

ArunA Bio, located in Athens, Georgia, with nearly 20 employees, was founded in 2005 as a developer and manufacturer of human neural-specific cell lines. The company has since transformed into a drug development company with a duel focus platform technology.

Along with exclusively licensed patents from the University of Georgia Research Foundation and a growing independent intellectual property portfolio, ArunA Bio appears to be positioned among the leaders in this space. Today, the company has a worldwide patent pending on exosomes derived from neural stem cells and their ability to direct methods of treatment with exosomes loaded with pharmaceutical cargo.

“We are revolutionizing neurotherapeutic development with a neural exosome therapeutic platform,” continued Stice, “The ability of our company’s proprietary neural exosomes to cross the blood brain barrier enables drugs and drug combinations to naturally target cells and treat patients with a range of neurodegenerative disorders.”

The neural stem cell-derived exosomes ArunA harvests from a proprietary manufacturing process have demonstrated the ability to: reduce inflammation and enhance neural function; cross the blood-brain barrier non-invasively to reach site of injury; enable multiple intravenous (IV) dosing without adverse response; improve motor function and behavioral outcomes; and greatly reduce neuronal hemorrhaging within 24 hours post injury according to a paper published in Translational Stroke Research, December 2017.

ArunA has conducted multiple pre-clinical studies of AB126, in vivo models of a stroke demonstrating the power of exosomes to modify disease.

“Our studies on strokes have shown that our exosomes enhance the nervous system’s self-repair mechanisms, translating into structural and functional benefits which improved survival, reduced infarct size and improved mobility,” Stice explained.  “We believe these findings support development of our neural exosomes to treat a range of neurodegenerative disorders.”

“We were the first to commercialize human neural stem cells derived from human pluripotent stem cells and make them available to the research market. For over 12 years, we have manufactured and provided neural stem cells, via our proprietary manufacturing system, to the world’s leading research organizations with an unrivaled uniformity and scale, and now we are advancing a new class of cell-free biologics, exosomes, for the treatment of central nervous system (CNS) and neurodegenerative disorders,” she continued.

“Through this platform, and with our partners, we strive to improve outcomes for neurodegenerative, genetic and rare diseases,” she said.

“Leveraging our insights, the unique profiles of ArunA’s exosomes, and the expertise of other ARMI Members, we can develop a versatile therapeutic platform in Regenerative Medicine,” she concluded.