A lot of science-talk below...moral of the story...at least another company is trying! The more the merrier :)
New start-up company ImmusanT says it plans to develop a vaccine for celiac disease along with companion diagnostic and monitoring tools for the condition.
The Cambridge, Mass., company just completed the acquisition of immunotherapy technology from Melbourne, Australia-based Nexpep Pty., Ltd., and has secured seed financing from angel investors to study the technology's potential applications in celiac.
Ultimately, ImmusanT wants to restore celiacs' tolerance to gluten through a vaccine. The company's product pipeline includes Nexvax2, a vaccine with three proprietary peptides that elicit an immune response in celiac patients who carry DQ2, the most common of the celiac disease genes.
The Nexvax2 vaccine underwent Phase 1 safety testing last year, and the vaccine is ready to advance to a Phase 2a clinical trial, which should begin in the next 12 months, the company said. ImmusanT will report data from the Phase 1 study at the Digestive Disease Week meeting in May, the company said.
Nexvax2, which is delivered in the skin in small doses, reprograms and desensitizes the immune system cells responsible for villous atrophy in celiac disease. The company says the approach is similar to treatments for allergies to cats, ragweed or dust mites, in which doctors use repeated small doses of a vaccine to stop the body from reacting to that allergen.
ImmusanT also said it has a deal with INOVA Diagnostics to develop improved blood diagnostic screening tests for celiac disease.