CHAIN targets inflammatory bowel disease with a focus on Ulcerative Colitis (UC). UC is a chronic inflammatory condition causing continuous mucosal inflammation of the colon. Patients suffer from severe abdominal pain and bleeding and have an increased risk of developing colorectal cancer. Today, there is a large clinical unmet need for improved treatments that support healing of the damaged gut wall in addition to reducing the inflammatory response. Relapse is common and typically results in an accumulation of tissue damage, impaired gut barrier function and life-threatening episodes which often require surgical intervention. This unpredictable disease significantly impacts patients’ lives and results in a high health economic burden.

CHAIN’s lead drug candidate is a live biotherapeutic based on a Clostridium strain that has been engineered to produce the anti-inflammatory and cell-protective metabolites β-hydroxybutyrate (β-HB) [1] and butyrate. Short-chain fatty acids, like butyrate, play a role in regulating the immune system in the gut [2]. UC is therefore a prime target for our lead microbiome therapeutic β-HB.

We have demonstrated pre-clinical safety and efficacy of β-HB, de-risked manufacture of bacterial spores and we are now focused on clinical translation. Our technology is transformative, offering controlled delivery of a novel therapeutic with improved efficacy, lower costs of manufacture and improved drug stability (no cold chain logistics).

References

1. Newman J.C. and Verdin E. β-hydroxybutyrate: Much more than a metabolite. Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 2014. 106(2): 173-181.

2. Schulthess J., Pandey S., Capitani M, Rue-Albrecht K.C., Arnold I., Franchini F., Chomka A., Ilott N.E., Johnston D.G.W., Pires E., McCullagh J., Sansom S.N., Arancibia-          Cárcamo C.V., Uhlig H.H., Powrie F. The Short Chain Fatty Acid Butyrate Imprints an Antimicrobial Program in Macrophages. Immunity. 2019. 50: 432-445.