Researchers discover that activating innate immunity in the gastrointestinal tract reduces disease pathology in ulcerative colitis

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Oct. 01, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Qu Biologics Inc. (Qu), a biopharmaceutical company developing Site Specific Immunomodulators (SSIs), a unique platform of immunotherapies designed to restore the body’s innate immune system, and scientists at the University of British Columbia have demonstrated Qu’s gut-targeted SSI, QBECO, improves barrier function and disease pathology in experimental models of ulcerative colitis and in patients with the disease. These findings were published last week in Frontiers in Immunology.

Ulcerative colitis (UC), like Crohn’s disease (CD), is a chronic life-long inflammatory disease of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. However, unlike CD, mucosal inflammation in UC is limited to the colon (also known as the large intestines). Current treatment strategies for CD and UC are focused on symptom management by aggressive immune suppression to dampen inflammation. However, despite the growing arsenal of immunosuppressive agents, disease progression has not changed for the majority of UC patients, who often require surgery. With QBECO, Qu Biologics is approaching the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease in a completely different way with the goal of changing the trajectory of disease progression. Instead of suppressing immune function, QBECO aims to restore innate immune function in the GI tract to rebuild barrier function and clear the dysbiosis/bacterial infection that underlies the chronic inflammation that is characteristic of the disease. QBECO is made from an inactivated GI pathogen that is easily self-administered by the patient and is a first-in-class immunotherapy.

This collaborative translational research demonstrated that QBECO treatment successfully reduced disease pathology and promoted mucosal healing by activating productive innate immune responses in the GI tract. Senior author of the study, Dr. Bruce Vallance (Professor of Gastroenterology, University of British Columbia) explained, “Most patients with UC are given immunosuppressive therapies to control their disease. Our studies show that some patients benefit from the immune stimulation offered by Qu’s microbial-based therapy. These findings are exciting and offer a new paradigm for our understanding and treatment of UC.” Co-author and Qu’s Director of Scientific Innovation, Dr. Shirin Kalyan, added, “What is particularly encouraging is the fact that we may have a new treatment for people living with inflammatory bowel disease that does not entail life-long immune suppression and its consequences, which include increased risk of infections and certain cancers. We are hopeful that by restoring GI barrier function instead of suppressing the immune system we can achieve better long-term health outcomes for patients.”

“We demonstrated mucosal and histological improvement in 55% of UC patients by endoscopy, demonstrating a healing effect with QBECO treatment,” said Dr. Hal Gunn, CEO of Qu Biologics. “We are hopeful that we will demonstrate similar endoscopic healing results in our new CD study which is now enrolling patients.”

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About Qu Biologics
Qu Biologics is a Vancouver-based private clinical stage biopharmaceutical company developing Site Specific Immunomodulators (SSI), a novel class of immunotherapies. SSIs are designed to stimulate an innate immune response in targeted organs or tissues to reverse the chronic inflammation underlying many conditions including cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, inflammatory lung disease and arthritis. SSIs are a broad platform technology being tested in multiple disease indications, including Health Canada approved clinical trials in lung cancer, Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative Colitis.

Backed by a prestigious group of scientific advisors and board members, Qu Biologics is led by a management team that includes co-founder and CEO Dr. Hal Gunn, a physician and expert on the body’s immune response to chronic disease; and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Simon Sutcliffe, former CEO of the BC Cancer Agency and a distinguished clinician, scientist and leader in cancer control in Canada and internationally.

For more information regarding this press release, contact:

Hal Gunn, MD
CEO Qu Biologics Inc.
Phone: (1) 604.734.1450

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