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Spin-Off Companies to Develop Chronic Disease Therapies

Bread loaves

(TiBine, Pixabay)

23 September 2016. Two new spin-off enterprises are being created to develop gut-based treatments for chronic diseases using technologies from synthetic biology company Intrexon Corporation. Dollar amounts of the licensing and investment transactions were not disclosed.

Intrexon in Germantown, Maryland is creating Genten Therapeutics Inc. to design therapies for celiac disease, while CRS Bio will develop therapies for chronic rhinosinusitis. Celiac disease is an inherited autoimmune disorder, where the body’s immune system reacts to gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye and barley. The immune reaction destroys the nutrient absorption capacity of the small intestine, leading to tissue damage. About 1 percent of people worldwide have celiac disease, with the only protection against symptoms being a strict gluten-free diet.

Rhinosinusitis is an infection or irritation of the lining of sinuses in the face and head, creating extra mucus and nasal congestion, discharge into the throat, a decreased sense of smell, and facial pain or pressure. In most cases, rhinosinusitis is temporary, known as acute rhinosinusitis, but when the condition become more persistent, lasting for 12 weeks or longer, it is called chronic rhinosinusitis. The chronic condition is more complex, with causes more elusive. and characterized in some cases with growth of polyps in the nasal passages. The disease is associated with allergies, immune system disorders, exposure to cigarette smoke or airborne irritants, and other causes.

Both Genten Therapeutics and CRS Bio are licensing Intrexon’s ActoBiotics technology to develop their treatments. Intrexon’s technologies are derived from computational models and software that assemble DNA-based solutions on a commercial scale. The ActoBiotics platform creates engineered food-grade bacteria, known as Lactococcus lactis, similar to those found in yogurt, to deliver protein therapeutics into the gut, which would otherwise degrade in the gastrointestinal tract.

Genten is expected to apply ActoBiotics to express gluten peptides, either alone or with enzymes that control immune responses, to help people with celiac disease reestablish a tolerance for gluten. CRS Bio plans to direct ActoBiotics technologies to generate antibodies that block inflammatory signals in the nasal passages of people with chronic rhinosinusitis, both with and without nasal polyps, to reduce inflammation and improve their breathing.

Intrexon calls these types of agreements exclusive channel collaborations that give the partner companies an exclusive license to develop new products from Intrexon technologies, move those products through regulatory processes, and conduct marketing and sales. For Genten Therapeutics and CRS Bio, Intrexon is receiving a 25 percent equity stake, along with milestone payments and royalties later on.

Intrexon’s investments in the two companies are funded by Harvest Capital Strategies, the asset management division of JMP Group in San Francisco. In January 2016, JMP Group established the Harvest Intrexon Enterprise Fund to finance new enterprises developing Intrexon’s synthetic biology technologies.

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2 comments to Spin-Off Companies to Develop Chronic Disease Therapies

  • […] Spin-Off Companies to Develop Chronic Disease Therapies – Two new spin-off enterprises are being created to develop gut-based treatments for chronic diseases … worldwide have celiac disease, with the only protection against symptoms being … […]

  • […] Spin-Off Companies to Develop Chronic Disease Therapies – Intrexon in Germantown, Maryland is creating Genten Therapeutics Inc. to design therapies for celiac disease, while CRS Bio will develop … but when the condition become more persistent, … […]