Microbiome Resource Center

Microbiome Resource Center

November 23, 2015
1 min read

NIH awards grants for microbiome-targeted drugs

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The NIH awarded Symberix with two Small Business Innovative Research grants to fund the development of microbiome-based drugs to selectively inhibit a bacterial enzyme that causes dose-limiting GI side effects of NSAIDs and certain chemotherapy drugs, according to a press release.

“Symberix has developed a new paradigm of microbiome-targeted drug discovery,” Matthew Redinbo, PhD, founder and chief scientific officer of Symberix, and Kenan Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, Biochemistry and Microbiology at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, said in the press release. “Our research has demonstrated that a disease-causing component of microbiome function can be pharmacologically controlled without harming the population of beneficial bacteria. Our core technology enables identification of microbial targets that reduce drug toxicities and improve human health.”

The grants will help to fund the company’s two preclinical development programs in lead optimization for non-antibiotic, small molecules to treat chemotherapy-induced diarrhea associated with Camptosar (irinotecan, Pfizer), and NSAID-induced toxicities of the lower GI tract, according to the press release. The first grant was awarded by the NIH, National Cancer Institute, for research on improving chemotherapy outcomes with microbiome-targeted molecules, and the second by the NIH, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases for research on microbiome-targeted drugs to improve NSAID outcomes. Together, the grants total an estimated $500,000 over 18 months.

“These grants underscore our leadership in selectively targeting the gut microbiome to discover a new class of therapeutic adjuncts to address unmet medical needs associated with severe side effects of a number of important and frequently used medications,” Ward Peterson, PhD, founder, president and CEO of Symberix, said in the press release. “Our goal is to use this non-dilutive funding to accelerate progress in our lead programs with the intent to file [investigational new drug] applications with the FDA as expeditiously as possible.”

Disclosures: Peterson and Redinbo report they are employees of Symberix.