Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation’s IBD Ventures Invests $2.4 Million in Developing Novel Products to Address Unmet Needs of IBD Patients
Published: March 21, 2023
March 20, 2023, New York, NY – The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation announced that it has invested in six companies in the 2022 funding cycle of the IBD Ventures program. Aiming to accelerate the development of novel products, IBD Ventures directly invests in product-oriented research and development with the potential to improve remission rates and quality of life for patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The two most common forms of IBD are Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
“IBD Ventures is excited to support these six companies, each of which are working to develop groundbreaking products that address several important unmet needs of IBD patients,” said Andres Hurtado-Lorenzo, PhD, Vice President of Translational Research and IBD Ventures, at the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation. “Those include a biosensor for real time monitoring of inflammation, a prognostic test to guide personalized treatment decisions, novel and safer biologics and small molecule drugs, including an anti-fibrotic therapy. We are excited to catalyze their progress and to see the products come to fruition for the benefit of the IBD community.”
Since 2017, IBD Ventures has invested in 20 companies and academic institutions to advance new projects. The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation launched IBD Ventures to accelerate the discovery and development of research-based products with the potential to address unmet needs of IBD patients. As a venture philanthropy program, IBD Ventures aims to advance products through the developmental pathway towards patient care by investing in novel early-stage products. The program funds, advises, and provides resources to for-profit companies, academic institutions, and other organizations seeking to develop products that can improve remission rates and quality of life for patients with IBD. For more information, visit IBD Ventures online.
The six companies receiving investments in this round are:
Nano Intelligent Biomedical Engineering Corporation (NIBEC), South Korea: A Peptide Pill that Induces Healing of the Intestinal Wall
The Foundation’s investment supports the development of an oral peptide (small protein fragment) that will help repair damage to the intestinal wall, leading to the healing of gut ulcers (also known as mucosal healing). The funding will be utilized to complete the necessary preclinical development studies required for regulatory approval of the first-in human clinical trial.
INOTREM, France: Developing a Novel Biologic to Block Inflammation
The funding from IBD Ventures will be used to develop a monoclonal antibody that blocks the TREM1 protein that modulates inflammation. This funding will support preclinical development activities to advance this biologic therapy towards the clinical development stage. Researchers will also analyze samples from IBD Plexus , the Foundation’s large, longitudinal patient registry offering biosamples, clinical, patient-reported, and molecular data, to evaluate the levels of this protein in IBD patients.
Giiant Pharma, Canada: Developing a Safer PED4 Inhibitor Drug with Fewer Side-Effects
Drugs that inhibit the pro-inflammatory protein PED4 have shown promise in ulcerative colitis clinical trials. However, they are associated with side effects including nausea. Giiant Pharma is developing a modified form of the PED4 inhibitor drug to target its delivery to the colon and avoid its absorption in the small intestine, reducing systemic exposure to other organs and related side effects. This funding will support preclinical development activities to advance this small molecule therapy towards the clinical development stage.
EnLiSense, USA: Biosensor Bracelet Measuring Biomarkers of Inflammation in Sweat
The clinical status of IBD patients is analyzed through biomarkers measured in blood or stool samples. EnLiSense has developed a biosensor device that can measure inflammation biomarkers in sweat in real-time and in a minimally- invasive way, through a wearable bracelet. The IBD Ventures funding will be used to perform clinical studies in two independent clinical sites to further develop and validate this device in IBD patients. This investment follows initial funding that enabled Professor Shalini Prasad Ph.D, a bioengineer from the University of Texas and co-Founder of EnLiSense, to develop this biosensor device for IBD, through the Foundation’s Novel Technologies Initiative.
PredictImmune, UK: mRNA-Based Blood Test to Prognosticate Disease Course and Enable Precision Medicine in IBD
PredictImmune has developed a prognostic blood test (PredictSURE) to stratify IBD patients according to their high or low risk of developing frequent relapsing disease. This test would allow the selection of the best personalized treatment options for newly diagnosed patients according to their disease risk. Initial clinical validation studies of the test were successfully performed in the UK. The IBD Ventures funding will allow further validation of the test in a more ethnically and racially diverse population in United States in support of regulatory approval and commercial launch.
Medibiofarma, Spain: Pill That Blocks Buildup of Intestinal Scar Tissue (Fibrosis)
IBD Ventures investment in Medibiofarma will support the development of a small-molecule therapeutic that blocks the development of fibrosis, one of the most common and severe IBD complications, and a leading cause for surgery within the IBD patient population. Medibiofarma is developing a drug that modulates the anti-fibrotic and anti-inflammatory functions of the protein PPAR gamma, which has been shown to be effective and safe in preclinical models of intestinal fibrosis. Funding will enable large-scale synthesis of the compound and the completion of critical preclinical pharmacology studies in support of subsequent clinical development.
About the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation
The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation is the leading nonprofit organization focused on both research and patient support for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), with the mission of curing Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, and of improving the quality of life of the millions of Americans living with IBD. The Foundation’s work is dramatically accelerating the research process, while also providing extensive educational and support resources for patients and their families, medical professionals, and the public. For more information, visit crohnscolitisfoundation.org, call 888-694-8872, or email [email protected].
Crohn's & Colitis Foundation
The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation is a non-profit, volunteer-fueled organization dedicated to finding the cures for Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, and to improving the quality of life of children and adults affected by these diseases. It was founded in 1967 by Irwin M. and Suzanne Rosenthal, William D. and Shelby Modell, and Henry D. Janowitz, M.D.