Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation Helps Advance Tissium’s Platform to Promote Tissue Healing

Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation Helps Advance Tissium’s Platform to Promote Tissue Healing
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The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation has provided funding to life science company Tissium to address the unmet medical needs of patients with Crohn’s disease, specifically to advance technology that can potentially promote tissue healing.

The undisclosed amount of capital is from the foundation’s IBD Ventures, which offers annual funding of up to $500,000 for projects aimed at speeding the discovery and development of novel science-based products that could ease inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) symptoms. Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis are the two most common forms of IBD.

France-based Tissium plans to use the funds to assess an innovative technology based on the company’s biomorphic programmable polymers. The technology is said to promote healing of anal fistulas without negatively affecting continence or the sphincter.

About 10% to 15% of Crohn’s disease patients develop fistulas, which are small, abnormally formed channels that connect the area close to the anus and outside skin area, and cause constant, throbbing pain.

Current treatments include antibiotics, immunosuppressants, anti-tumor necrosis factor medicines, and surgery (fistulectomy). None, however, produce enduring benefits, and all carry complications and safety risks and concerns.

“We believe the Tissium technology platform has the potential to transform the way fistulas are treated,” said Gerard Honig, PhD, the foundation’s associate director of research innovation, in a press release. “Patients are often met with the dilemma of receiving an effective treatment at the expense of fecal incontinence and other health and quality of life challenges. We are encouraged by Tissium’s novel approach to develop a technique to promote fistula healing and address the pressing clinical need.”

Tissium’s platform leverages technology that was initially developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital of Harvard Medical School. The platform is the basis of an array of synthetic, biomorphic, and programmable polymers that can be used inside the body as sealants, adhesives, barriers, or plugs. The polymers can also be used to transport therapies or as implantable devices created through 3D printing technology.

This polymer family has unique properties, including the ability to conform to, and integrate with, surrounding tissue to foster natural healing. In addition, the polymers’ design allows for tailoring to match tissue-specific requirements for different therapeutic areas.

The company said the foundation’s support will help it expand its platform and develop better treatment options.

“We aim to leverage our programmable polymer platform to revolutionize how tissue repair happens in the body, supporting healing while limiting trauma for a better long-term outcome for the patient,” said Maria Pereira, Tissium’s chief innovation officer. “Leveraging the adhesive and tissue ingrowth properties of our polymer formulations, we aim to design a more effective solution for patients.”

The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation is the leading nonprofit organization focused on IBD research and patient support. IBD is said to affect more than three million U.S. residents, with as many as 70,000 new cases diagnosed annually.

Mary M. Chapman began her professional career at United Press International, running both print and broadcast desks. She then became a Michigan correspondent for what is now Bloomberg BNA, where she mainly covered the automotive industry plus legal, tax and regulatory issues. A member of the Automotive Press Association and one of a relatively small number of women on the car beat, Chapman has discussed the automotive industry multiple times of National Public Radio, and in 2014 was selected as an honorary judge at the prestigious Cobble Beach Concours d’Elegance. She has written for numerous national outlets including Time, People, Al-Jazeera America, Fortune, Daily Beast, MSN.com, Newsweek, The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press. The winner of the Society of Professional Journalists award for outstanding reporting, Chapman has had dozens of articles in The New York Times, including two on the coveted front page. She has completed a manuscript about centenarian car enthusiast Margaret Dunning, titled “Belle of the Concours.”
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Margarida graduated with a BS in Health Sciences from the University of Lisbon and a MSc in Biotechnology from Instituto Superior Técnico (IST-UL). She worked as a molecular biologist research associate at a Cambridge UK-based biotech company that discovers and develops therapeutic, fully human monoclonal antibodies.
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Mary M. Chapman began her professional career at United Press International, running both print and broadcast desks. She then became a Michigan correspondent for what is now Bloomberg BNA, where she mainly covered the automotive industry plus legal, tax and regulatory issues. A member of the Automotive Press Association and one of a relatively small number of women on the car beat, Chapman has discussed the automotive industry multiple times of National Public Radio, and in 2014 was selected as an honorary judge at the prestigious Cobble Beach Concours d’Elegance. She has written for numerous national outlets including Time, People, Al-Jazeera America, Fortune, Daily Beast, MSN.com, Newsweek, The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press. The winner of the Society of Professional Journalists award for outstanding reporting, Chapman has had dozens of articles in The New York Times, including two on the coveted front page. She has completed a manuscript about centenarian car enthusiast Margaret Dunning, titled “Belle of the Concours.”
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