We’ve all seen it: the media craze about gluten and how it’s terrible for us. Except it generally lacks solid scientific consensus, and like most of these marketing fads, won’t be getting it anytime soon. But this kind of thing is absolutely great for advertisers—who can fashion an entirely new niche based on this supposed health concern. But underlying this example of bandwagon marketing is a real disease—an acute inflammatory condition called Celiac disease—wherein the consumption of gluten involves painful and embarrassing responses like gastrointestinal distress, chronic diarrhoea, abdominal distention and worse.

Right now, there’s no treatment for Celiac and other acute inflammatory conditions, but there are companies working on it.

ProThera and Takeda Pharmaceutical Company (TAK.NYSE) agreed to jointly develop a novel plasma-derived inter-alpha inhibitor proteins (IAIP) therapy to treat acute inflammatory conditions today.

Acute inflammation is the body’s response to harm, and results in increased movement of plasma and white blood cells from the blood into the injured tissues. The vascular system and the immune system get involved, and the tissues swell.

“Our goal is to successfully treat patients with severe inflammatory conditions and this is now possible through our alliance with Takeda. Takeda’s R&D expertise is well aligned with the potential uses of our Inter-alpha Inhibitor technology. We are delighted that Takeda and ProThera are collaborating and that Takeda shares our enthusiasm for tackling unmet medical needs,” said Denice Spero, president and chief business officer of ProThera.

The circumstance that IAIP technology is built for is when the normal inflammatory response for either trauma or biological-invader proved insufficient for the issue. Medicine doesn’t have an answer for that yet, but early research has suggested that IAIP technology can deliver a suitable, disease-modifying treatment.

A few diseases linked to acute inflammation include:

  • diabetes.
  • cardiovascular disease (CVD)
  • arthritis and other joint diseases.
  • allergies.
  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • psoriasis.
  • rheumatoid arthritis.

First, IAIP are naturally occurring proteins that circulate in the blood, and extensive research done by ProThera has shown these proteins to control inflammation, and properly used could effectively change the way we treat patients with dysregulated immune responses. However, during acute illnesses, the levels fo these anti-inflammatory proteins rapidly decline, and a replenishment strategy for patients using Inter-alpha inhibitors is supported by preclinical studies.

ProThera and Takeda will work together to get the prospective formulation ready for Investigational New Drug application status, with Takeda’s Plasma Derived Therapies R&D organization leading development. The collaboration will also include exploration into companion diagnostics with the goal of personalizing patient treatment with Takeda assuming responsibility for funding of all the development and commercialization activities.

“We believe ProThera’s expertise in IAIP technology represents a potentially powerful opportunity to explore the untapped potential of plasma in order to address challenging rare and complex diseases. Leveraging this potent technology using our deep expertise and robust dedicated plasma infrastructure, this collaboration reflects our patient-centered R&D efforts and could represent an important new avenue to deliver meaningful innovation to patient populations in need,” said Dr. Chris Morabito, Takeda’s head of research and development, Plasma-Derived Therapies Business Unit.

The financial terms of the licensing agreement are not being disclosed.

—Joseph Morton

Written By:

Joseph Morton

Joseph is a Vancouver-based author and journalist with both a communications degree and journalism diploma (and a few novels) under his belt. His joie de vivre is to spin difficult technical topics into more human-centric narratives. Buy him a coffee and he'll talk your ear off for hours about privacy issues, blockchain, cryptocurrency and martial arts. Don't talk to him if you're either a tomato, a bully, or if you're not a fan of either 1984 or Tender is the Night. No. You can still talk to him. Just be prepared to be told why you're wrong.

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inter-alpha inhibitor proteins
Takeda Pharmaceutical Company
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