Symbiotix Announces $2.3 Million Award from NIH’s NIAID
News Jun 02, 2015
Symbiotix Biotherapies, Inc. has announced that it was awarded a $2.3 million Phase 2 Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Program award from the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). The company, based in Boston, is developing a novel class of molecular therapeutics from the human microbiome.
Symbiotix’ lead clinical candidate, Polysaccharide A (PSA), is the first molecule to emerge from the microbiome and the $2.3 million NIH award enables the completion of key translational studies and production of material needed to take into human clinical trials as a novel treatment for multiple sclerosis (MS), said Prof. Lloyd Kasper, Professor of Medicine, Microbiology and Immunology at Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College, and Co-Founder of Symbiotix.
PSA is a first-in-class oral therapy that works through a novel mechanism of action related to activation of regulatory T cells, which exert an anti-inflammatory effect through the production of IL-10.
“Current FDA-approved therapies for multiple sclerosis offer only partial benefit for reduction of relapses and time to disability. However, all of these FDA-approved treatments have side effects some of which can be rather profound,” said Prof. Kasper. “We are developing PSA as a safe and effective new oral therapy for the over 500,000 US patients with multiple sclerosis. We expect PSA to have few, if any, significant side effects as it is derived from a commensal bacterial molecule that has evolved to modulate our immune system”.
The studies funded through this prestigious award will be conducted by Symbiotix in collaboration with the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College.
“Our receipt of this third NIH award enables us to move PSA towards human clinical studies as a first-in-class oral treatment for multiple sclerosis,” said Nader Yaghoubi, M.D., Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Symbiotix. “We are grateful for the continued support by NIH as we translate years of promising academic research funded by NIH into a breakthrough therapy for MS and other immune-mediated diseases”.
Mapping of a certain group of cells, known as oligodendrocytes, in the central nervous system of a mouse model of multiple sclerosis (MS), shows that they might have a significant role in the development of the disease. The discovery can lead to new therapies targeted at other areas than just the immune system.