SAN DIEGO – July 14, 2014 – aTyr Pharma, an innovative rare disease therapeutics enterprise announced today that a potential link between the alternative splicing of histidyl-tRNA synthetase (HARS) and inflammatory myopathy was presented in a poster at the 13th Annual International Congress on Neuromuscular Diseases (ICNMD XIII) held from July 5-11 in Nice, France. This poster presentation summarized data generated at aTyr Pharma and Pangu BioPharma (a subsidiary of aTyr Pharma based in Hong Kong to perform basic and translational research in Physiocrine biology in collaboration with the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST)). A portion of these novel findings highlighted the potential role of Physiocrines in muscle physiology, were recently published in The Journal of Biological Chemistry (Zhou, J.J. et al., J Biol Chem, 2014. pii: jbc.C114.571026). The presentation explored the increasing associations for HARS with neuromuscular disease, in particular in relation to the Jo-1 antibodies, which occur as part of a rare, human autoimmune response to HARS in inflammatory myopathy (IM, also known as myositis or myopathy) and interstitial lung disease (ILD), investigating the possibility that HARS insufficiency (created by mutations or antibody blockade) plays a role in the pathology of inflammatory myopathies. Discovery of a splice variant that isolates the major epitope of Jo-1 Abs and is significantly upregulated in muscle biopsies from patients diagnosed with dermatomyositis (DM), indicates HARS may have potential importance in other forms of myopathies with immune components, including genetic muscular dystrophies.
Leslie Nangle, Ph.D., Associate Director of Discovery Biology at aTyr Pharma, presented the poster PS1-8 / #562 entitled “Potential Link Between Alternative Splicing of Histidyl-tRNA Synthetase (HARS) and Inflammatory Myopathy”.
Among their various homeostatic functions, some Physiocrines act as extracellular signaling molecules to orchestrate immuno-homeostasis in response to stress and other physiological changes. Physiocrines comprise naturally occurring proteins derived from tRNA synthetases that play fundamental roles in the function of human physiology and restoring pathophysiological states to a healthier state. aTyr is currently focused on Physiocrines that act as endogenous modulators of our immune and regenerative systems. Physiocrines offer the opportunity for modulating biological pathways through newly discovered naturally occurring mechanisms, many of which may provide multiple therapeutic advantages, including improved efficacy and reduced side effect profiles compared to many existing therapeutics.
About aTyr Pharma
aTyr Pharma is developing a pipeline of therapeutic products based on Physiocrine biology. To protect these products aTyr built a dominant intellectual property estate comprising over 200 patent applications and patents. aTyr’s key programs are currently focused on rare disorders where the immune system is imbalanced. These diseases are serious potentially life threatening autoimmune conditions, for which there are currently no effective, safe, long term treatments. The privately held biotech was founded by The Scripps Research Institute Professor Paul Schimmel, a leading aminoacyl tRNA synthetase scientist, and is backed by top life sciences investors Alta Partners, Cardinal Partners, Domain Associates and Polaris Partners. For more information, please visit http://www.atyrpharma.com.