Vancouver, BC – Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a relapsing, remitting inflammatory disease that causes diarrhea, abdominal pain, fecal urgency and incontinence. Systemic symptoms such as fever, weight loss, malaise and fatigue can also occur in more extensive disease. Current treatments are designed to suppress immune function, introducing significant and sometimes life-threatening side effects.
There is a significant unmet need for safer, more tolerable and more effective therapies for Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) which includes UC. The project is valued at over $950,000 and funded in part by Genome British Columbia’s (Genome BC) through the Strategic Opportunities Fund for Industry (SOFi). This investment will allow Qu Biologics (Qu) to study selected Site Specific Immunomodulators (SSIs) in an UC study. One of these SSIs, QBECO SSI, is derived from components of E. coli, and is designed to restore innate immune function and reverse chronic inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract, with the goal of reversing disease progression with minimal side effects.
In this project, Qu will investigate the safety, efficacy and immunologic mechanism of action of QBECO SSI in patients with moderate-to-severe UC. The team will also identify key biomarkers and assess the impact of host genotype and the microbiome on SSI activity.
Qu Biologics’ Chief Scientific Officer, Dr. David Mullins, stated, “We are very pleased to receive support from Genome BC to study Qu’s QBECO SSI as a potential new treatment option for UC. Unlike current IBD treatments that suppress the immune system, QBECO SSI is designed to restore normal innate immune response, clearing chronic infection and dysbiosis associated with IBD.”
The market for UC-directed therapeutics is projected to exceed $3.5 billion annually by 2021. Demonstration of safety, efficacy and determining the mechanism of action of QBECO will solidify Qu’s position as a leader in IBD treatment with a novel therapeutic approach.
“A well-tolerated therapy for moderate-to-severe UC is urgently needed,” says Dr. Alan Winter, President and CEO of Genome BC. “This project will move prospective therapies through the pipeline and into commercialization”.