Spinout News

Intract’s drug delivery mission on course to transform antibody delivery in patients suffering from chronic inflammatory diseases

19 June 2024

Scientists in a research lab

UCLB spinout Intract Pharma has achieved a significant milestone in its mission to innovate novel technologies for precision delivery of biologics in the gastrointestinal tract.

The company, which spun out from the UCL School of Pharmacy, is the result of more than 20 years of research from Prof. Abdul Basit’s laboratory. It is focused on converting injectable biologic medicines, especially monoclonal antibodies, to oral medications by improving their proteolytic stability and absorption across the intestinal tract, particularly for chronic inflammatory diseases.

UCLB has supported Intract’s journey from early intellectual property protection, company formation, sourcing funding and board representation.

Recent progress has been encouraging, with Intract joining AB-BIOBETTER: a €3.4m, three-year EU project led by Belgian biotechnology company Bio-Sourcing, and co-partnered with French preclinical stage biotechnology company Ciloa. The partnership aims to develop an oral antibody treatment for Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD), such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, as well as systemic autoimmune indications

AB-BIOBETTER, co-financed by the national budgets of each partner’s state, via Innovate UK, the Walloon Region and Bpifrance, as well as by the European Union, aims to pioneer the development of a new oral formulation of adalimumab (Humira®): an anti-TNF-α monoclonal antibody.

If successful, the drug would be a major step forward in the treatment of inflammatory diseases; offering less invasive and convenient at-home administration option, more cost-effective, and potentially more potent treatment options.

Intract will contribute their state-of-the-art precision gut delivery and antibody stabilisation technologies, a platform that was envisioned from the outset, according to Dr Vipul Yadav, Intract Pharma’s Chief Executive Officer. “Over the last five years we have managed to validate the potential for orally delivered monoclonal antibodies in the immunology space with several pharma and biotech partners preclinically.

“We focused on getting a strong patent portfolio and robust preclinical PoC data with several antibody candidates against different validated biology targets. Its pleasing to start another exciting collaboration which, if successful, could significantly improve the systemic bioavailability of antibodies that we are currently achieving and also dramatically bring down the overall cost of antibody DS compared with mammalian cell-based production through our partner’s expertise.”

Apart from the clinical advantages of Intract’s new oral drug delivery mechanism, it has the potential to provide much better access to certain therapeutics in communities which do not have the facilities needed for conventional delivery by injections or infusions, as Dr Yadav explains:

“This will expand the access of this product globally, especially to low and middle-income countries. This aligns with our company’s vision of impacting patient care globally in chronic indications where there are no effective oral biologic treatments available.’’