CANbridge Pharmaceuticals Enters into Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Gene Therapy Research Agreement with University of Washington School of Medicine


Beijing, China; Cambridge, Massachusetts, Nov.1, 2021— CANbridge Pharmaceuticals, Inc.,  a leading China-based global rare disease-focused biopharmaceutical company committed to the research, development and commercialization of transformative therapies, announced that it has entered into a two-year sponsored research agreement with the University of Washington School of Medicine, in Seattle, Washington, for gene therapy research in Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), a rare neuromuscular disease. The program will be under the direction of Jeffrey Chamberlain, Ph.D., professor in the Departments of Neurology, Medicine and Biochemistry, the McCaw Endowed Chair in Muscular Dystrophy at the University of Washington School of Medicine, and Director of the Senator Paul D. Wellstone Muscular Dystrophy Specialized Research Center of Seattle. Guy Odom, Ph.D., Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurology at the University of Washington, will serve as the co-principal investigator.

Dr. Chamberlain is internationally renowned as a pioneer and one of the top researchers in the field of gene therapies for muscle diseases. His lab has been studying muscular dystrophy mechanisms, particularly dystrophin structure, and gene therapy approaches. They were the first to show that adeno-associated virus (AAV) vectors could be used for systemic gene delivery to muscle.

“We are thrilled to enter into this research agreement with Dr. Chamberlain, who has been leading the world in DMD research for decades, as we advance our gene therapy research program in neuromuscular disorders,” said James Xue, Ph.D., Founder, Chairman and CEO, CANbridge Pharmaceuticals Inc. “Duchenne muscular dystrophy is the most common of the hereditary neuromuscular diseases and, despite recent approvals for exon-skipping therapies, remains severely underserved medically. We believe that the best gene therapy for this devastating disease has not yet been discovered, and we look forward to working with Dr. Chamberlain and his team on their innovative research, as well as the new treatments that may arise from it.”


About Dystrophinopathies

Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a rare muscle disorder, but it is one of the most frequent genetic conditions that primarily affects males. DMD usually presents in early childhood and is characterized by rapidly progressive muscle degeneration and weakness, leading to loss of ambulation by about 12 years of age. Cardiomyopathy is a common cause of morbidity and death in DMD patients.  The incidence of DMD is estimated to be 1/3,500 – 1/5,000 male births worldwide and 1/4,560 in China, according to the National Organization for Rare Disease and published peer review.


About the Chamberlain Laboratory, University of Washington Department of Neurology

The lab is focused on muscular dystrophy research with two major goals: to develop a better understanding of the molecular basis of the pathophysiology of the diseases, and to develop gene and cell therapies that will correct and treat the muscular dystrophies. Major targets for therapy include Duchenne muscular dystrophy and LGMD2I.


About the Odom Laboratory, University of Washington Department of Neurology

The lab is focused on developing a more thorough understanding of the inherent muscle biology occurring during muscular dystrophy disease progression. As such, the lab’s research generally involves developing or improving genetic-based therapies.


About CANbridge Pharmaceuticals Inc.

CANbridge Pharmaceuticals Inc. is a China-based global rare disease-focused biopharmaceutical company committed to the research, development and commercialization of transformative therapies.

CANbridge has a comprehensive and differentiated pipeline of 13 drug assets with significant market potential, targeting some of the most prevalent rare diseases and rare oncology.

These include Hunter syndrome (MPS II) and other lysosomal storage disorders (LSDs), complement mediated disorders, hemophilia A, metabolic disorders, rare cholestatic liver diseases and neuromuscular diseases as well as glioblastoma multiforme (GBM).

CANbridge strategically combines global collaborations and internal research to build and diversify its drug portfolio and invest in next-generation gene therapy technologies for rare disease treatments. CANbridge global partners include, but are not limited to, Apogenix, GC Pharma, Mirum, Wuxi Biologics, Privus, the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMass) and LogicBio.

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Deanne Eagle

Planet Communications