October 18-20 | Tucson, AZ

The Research Institution GAP Fund and Accelerator Program Summit

Monash University BioCurate POC fund to continue collaboration with researchers to develop a new treatment for Inflammatory Bowel Disease 

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October 18-20, 2023 / Tucson, AZ
The annual summit for research institution gap fund and accelerator programs, including proof of concept programs, startup accelerators, and university venture funds

The Story

A research project supported by BioCurate’s Proof of Concept fund led by Monash University will move into the next exciting phase as an exclusive licence in the BioCurate Portfolio.

The research, led by Monash University’s Dr Rimma Goldberg and Associate Professor Joshua Ooi,  has identified a promising new cell therapy approach to treating Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) using a patient’s own T cells.

The licence agreement will allow BioCurate to provide additional funding and hands-on support to the academic research team. It will enable them to collaborate and progress this work into a medically sound, commercially attractive, investable project and, ultimately, a new treatment that could improve patients’ lives.

IBD currently affects more than 75,000 people in Australia and millions worldwide. IBD comprises two disorders, Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis, which are both caused by chronic inflammation in the gut, causing significant pain, weight loss and diarrhoea, and in some cases leading to the development of intestinal cancer. Current treatments for IBD are associated with unacceptably high failure rates and toxic side effects.

The inflammation causing these debilitating diseases is related to an imbalance between different immune cells. IBD patients have reduced numbers of important cells known as regulatory T cells (Tregs). Reintroducing these cells into the patient would be a safe method to increase the number of functional Treg cells and can treat this debilitating disease. However, the isolation and expansion of Treg cells is difficult, time-consuming and costly. The academic research team has developed a novel method to generate Treg cells that could overcome the current limitations of this technology.

This project was announced as a recipient of the BioCurate Proof of Concept (POC) fund in April 2022 and is the second to progress from the fund to BioCurate’s portfolio. During the POC stage, the academic research team worked to define the best conditions for culturing the Treg cells outside the body and demonstrate their effectiveness in controlling inflammation, supporting the potential of these cells to control IBD when transferred back to the patient. Following the successful completion of this work in 2023, a project team consisting of BioCurate personnel and academic researchers worked together to generate a Development Plan, forming the basis of a Project Investment Proposal presented to the BioCurate Investment Committee. With approval from the committee, the project has joined BioCurate’s portfolio.

“We aimed to identify new and safer treatments for this debilitating disease,” said Dr Goldberg. “Our technology could enable people living with IBD to live without symptoms and even reduce their risk of cancer. This methodology we have developed may also be applied to different diseases and conditions where the immune system is dysregulated, so the potential clinical impact is huge.”

Associate Professor Ooi continued, “We’re excited to continue our work alongside the BioCurate team. Their expertise and insight have already taught the entire team so much about the intricacies of translation.”

“Working with Dr Goldberg, Associate Professor Ooi and their teams have demonstrated the core of BioCurate’s mission. Our combined passion and commitment have helped progress this project through the early stages of drug development. We look forward to accelerating this new treatment method and advancing towards clinical trials in this therapeutic area where current treatments are inadequate.” said BioCurate Executive Director of Research and Development, Dr Christopher Chan.


Full story: BioCurate to continue collaboration with Monash University researchers to develop a new treatment for Inflammatory Bowel Disease – Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

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