Massachusetts-based Immune Pharmaceuticals Inc., a company that specializes in creating antibody therapeutics for chronic inflammatory conditions, recently announced the start of participant screening for its Phase II clinical trial of one of their lead therapeutic products for ulcerative colitis, called Bertilimumab.
Ulcerative colitis is a form of inflammatory bowel disease confined to the colon. It typically manifests as painful, bloody diarrhea, resulting in fatigue, weight loss, and even anemia. Bertilimumab is one of the first therapeutics in the pharmaceutical industry to employ biomarkers for a more personalized approach to designing treatment for patients. It is also indicated for two other diseases as well: Crohn’s Disease and Bullous Pemphigoid, an auto-immune dermatological disease.
The Chairman of the Institute for Digestive Diseases at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, Israel, Eran Goldin, is the lead researcher for the clinical trial. It will be conducted across 10 sites and involves adult patients with active moderate to severe ulcerative colitis. Participants will be screened based on detected levels of eotaxin-1, a specific biomarker noted to be significantly elevated in select chronic inflammatory conditions. Bertilimumab has been shown in previous clinical trial settings to be capable of neutralizing eotaxin-1.
News of the continued research and development of Bertilimumab joins an emerging line of pharmaceutical treatments that are believed to be more beneficial than immunosuppressants, as they continue to show promising results in patients with IBD. Infliximab may be an effective component of a drug regimen for patients with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. While a number of past reports claimed the drug to be ineffective, a recent study revisited infliximab and found it may work best after a “drug holiday” and after all other traditional treatments have failed.