Progenity, Inc. (NASDAQ:PROG), a biotechnology company with an established track record of success developing and commercializing molecular testing products, announced today that it has received funding from the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation's IBD Ventures program to further develop Progenity's first-in-class oral Drug Delivery System (DDS) for delivery of targeted therapeutics for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
The DDS capsule is an orally ingestible and self-guided drug delivery device under development, which is designed to deliver doses of therapeutic compounds formulated in proprietary solutions to a defined location within the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.
Current drug treatments for IBD suffer from less than optimal efficacies at safe doses, leading to a loss of response in many patients within the first few years of treatment. The DDS could improve efficacy of treatment through increased localized drug concentration, while potentially minimizing harmful side effects associated with systemic drug delivery. The promise of an improved therapeutic-safety index also creates the potential for targeted delivery of combination therapies.
Funding from IBD Ventures will support further development and clinical studies of the DDS technology. Progenity is also developing a pipeline of therapeutic candidates that use the DDS to deliver proprietary soluble liquid formulations, designed to improve tissue uptake, directly to the colon to treat ulcerative colitis. Progenity's lead candidates include PGN-001, a high-concentration formulation of adalimumab, and PGN-600, a high concentration, solubilized formulation of tofacitinib. Progenity also plans to use the platform to develop solutions for Crohn's disease and other GI diseases in the future.
IBD Ventures was developed by the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation to accelerate research and development of products that aim to improve the quality of life for patients with IBD. During 2020, less than 5% of applicants received funding, demonstrating the selectivity of the program.
"We are proud to have been chosen by the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation to receive funding through their IBD Ventures program. This partnership will help support the development of our innovative DDS platform for IBD," said Harry Stylli, PhD, CEO, chairman of the board and co-founder of Progenity. "We believe our therapeutic pipeline candidates, coupled with the DDS technology, could improve patient outcomes by delivering higher drug concentrations at the site of disease to improve efficacy, while limiting systemic uptake to ensure safety."
"This type of innovative technology is well aligned with the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation's mission to improve the quality of life for the millions of Americans living with IBD, and we are pleased to support Progenity's work through our IBD Ventures program," said Dr. Caren Heller, Chief Scientific Officer for the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation.