PTG-200 is an inflammatory signal blocker developed by Protagonist Therapeutics to treat Crohn’s disease, an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that can occur in any part of the gastrointestinal tract.

Protagonist Therapeutics is a biotechnology company that develops treatments for moderate-to-severe forms of IBD. Unlike most bowel disease therapies, which are injected, PTG-200 is swallowed. The oral formulation delivers it directly to the gastrointestinal area. It also improves safety because it minimizes the drug’s exposure to the blood.

How does PTG-200 work?

The immune system recognizes threats to our cells and neutralizes them in a process that requires inflammation. Once a threat is discovered, immune cells release chemical signals that prompt nearby cells to activate their defenses. The surrounding cells spread a danger signal by releasing chemical molecules.

IL-23 is one of the molecules that spreads a danger signal to other cells. Researchers have shown that IBD patients have elevated levels of IL-23 in their intestinal biopsies. IL-23 can also be used to create animal models of IBD.

PTG-200 is an IL-23 antagonist that reduces the inflammatory process in Crohn’s disease. It works by blocking IL-23 receptors on the surface of immune cells, leading to the receptors producing less of the chemicals necessary for cell signaling. This, in turns, weakens inflammatory response.

Studies with PTG-200

PTG-200 has yet to reach the clinical trial stage, which means that it has yet to be tested in humans. Positive results from such trials could prompt the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to approve the drug for treating IBD. The FDA has been assessing PTG-200 as an Investigational New Drug,  and Protagonist’s plans include a Phase 1 clinical trial starting in 2017.

Protagonist Therapeutics presented information on the effectiveness of PTG-200 against IBD at a Digestive Diseases Week conference in May of 2016. The presentation was titled “The Biomarker Profile of PTG-200, an Oral Peptide Antagonist of IL-23 Receptor, Tracks with Efficacy in a Preclinical Model of IBD.

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