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CMCC 3132

Harnessing the microbiota to protect against IBD and other inflammatory diseases

Inventors: Neeraj Surana, Dennis Kasper

Invention Types: Therapeutics

Research Areas: Gastrointestinal/Nutrition

Keywords: Animal Model (mouse), Chronic Disease, Target, Mouse Model

For More Information Contact:  Meyer, Abbie


Invention Description:

There are ~1.7 million people in the United States with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), a disease that is typically classified as either ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease. IBD manifests as intestinal and extra-intestinal inflammation that results from a combination of genetic susceptibilities, aberrant immune function, and environmental triggers. There currently exist many different therapies on the market for IBD; however, no single approach works for all patients and therapy is empirically tested on an individual basis. Ultimately, medication alone is inadequate to maintain remission in most patients, and nearly half of patients will require intestinal resection. Additionally, virtually all of the medications used for IBD blunt the immune response of the patient and leaves them more vulnerable to other infections. |

In recent years, it has become clear that the microbiota—the trillions of microbes that live symbiotically with humans—is a major driver of immune responses and likely represents a major environmental trigger that results in the development of IBD. Given this putative role of the microbiota in regulating development of IBD, there has been resurgent interest in using probiotics as therapy. Microbiome-based therapeutics have the potential to be more “natural” than conventional drugs, more closely address the root cause of illness, and may serve as a “polypill” for multiple conditions that arise from the same microbial derangement. |

Neeraj Surana, in collaboration with the Kasper lab at Harvard Medical School, has recently developed a discovery platform for identifying specific disease-protective commensal bacteria. The first asset discovered from this platform is a new bacterial species, Clostridium immunis, that protects colitis-prone mice from death by decreasing the numbers and function of an important, pathogenic immune cell. The findings in mice mirror what is seen in human patients with IBD, who have similar microbiological and immunological findings. C. immunis represents a first-in-class microbiome-based therapy for patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Novel therapeutics for IBD are sorely needed given that current therapeutic options are ineffective at maintaining long-term remission.


• Prolong remission of IBD

• Potential to treat other microbiome-driven diseases

Competitive Advantages:

• Therapeutic consisting pf a single bacterial species with a known and novel mechanism

• C. immunis can be easily cultured in the lab, does not depend on isolation from healthy donors

Business Opportunity:

Collaboration and Sponsored Research, License, Startup

Key Publications: Surana, N., Kasper, D.L. A framework for moving beyond microbioime-wide associations to identifying causal microbes. Nature. Under review.

IPStatus: Pat. Pend.