Peptide-Based Oral Drugs for Bowel Diseases Closer to Development

Peptide-Based Oral Drugs for Bowel Diseases Closer to Development
University of Queensland's spin-off biotech company Protagonist Therapeutics is getting closer to developing peptide-based first-in-class oral drugs for treating inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) including Crohn's disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC). The oral therapy has the potential to benefit millions of IBD patients worldwide. Protagonist Therapeutics raised $118 million in Australian dollars (roughly $91 million in U.S. dollars) in its initial public offering of $7.5 million shares earlier this month. Shares began trading on NASDAQ on August 11 under the symbol "PTGX". The company notes on its website that there were an estimated 1.6 million IBD patients in the United States in 2013. Global Data in 2012 estimated that UC and CD markets had reached approximately $4.2 billion and $3.2 billion, respectively across ten major markets. The markets were expected to grow at a compound annual rate of approximately 3-5 percent through 2022. Protagonist Therapeutics further observes that current tumor necrosis factor-alpha antibody drugs approved for the treatment of moderate-to-severe IBD, Humira and Remicade, are both injectable and that approximately one-third of the IBD patients do not respond to TNF antibody drugs. Approximately another 30-40 percent become unresponsive within the first year of treatment. According to the company, the benefits of peptide-based, orally administered IBD therapy include: Localized delivery with higher drug concentrations at site of active disease. Reduced risk of infections caused by injections or infusions. Greater convenience leading to increased patient compliance. Oral and gastrointestinal-restricted delivery minimizes systemic exposure in the blood. Peptides can be cleared more quickly from s
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