Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) affects 1.5 million people in the United States, with nearly half suffering from ulcerative colitis (UC). This condition is generally caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors that lead to an over-reactive immune response in the large intestine. Current treatments (including infliximab and other tumor necrosis factor [TNF] inhibitors; corticosteroids; and antibiotics such as metronidazole, ampicillin, and ciprofloxacin) are aimed at suppressing the immune system or alleviating symptoms. Unfortunately, these therapies can have harsh side effects and are ineffective in 25% to 33% of patients. For these, colectomy may be the last option.
Ventria Bioscience's candidate therapy VEN120 shows promise as a potential therapy in animal models of UC, with mechanisms that may go beyond simple immune suppression to help balance gut microflora and heal inflammatory damage. Ventria is currently pursuing a clinical development program to confirm these properties in humans.