Senator Edwards Learns about Precision Medicine for Crohn’s Disease

BLACKSBURG, Va., October 17, 2016—Senator John Edwards visited a Virginia Tech spin off biotech company that licensed technology from the Nutritional Immunology and Molecular Medicine Laboratory (NIMML) at the Biocomplexity Institute of Virginia Tech.

“The various projects led by Dr. Bassaganya-Riera will continue to bring new biotech jobs to Montgomery County” Edwards said. “NIMML’s innovative technologies help develop safer and more effective therapies for Crohn’s disease and represent a huge potential for the region. My office will continue to help bring new, good paying jobs to Virginia and drive innovation through the BioHealth Capital Region.”

Edwards received a firsthand look at the technology developed by Dr. Bassaganya-Riera’s team. During his tour of the laboratory, Senator Edwards met with Dr. Josep Bassaganya-Riera, the Director of NIMML to discuss the current progress and future plans for developing new oral therapeutics for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, which are the two clinical forms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Although there is a genetic predisposition to developing IBD, there is no known cause or cure. Treatment requires lifelong medical care for many patients and involves the suppression of the body’s excessive inflammatory response.

“There is an unmet clinical need for safer and more effective therapeutics for IBD,” said Dr. Josep Bassaganya-Riera, “The core technology is a new mechanism of action implicated in suppressing gut inflammation during IBD. Our team has validated new therapeutic pathways and developed oral drugs that act locally in the gut to treat IBD. In terms of efficacy and safety, the lanthionine synthetase C-like 2 (LANCL2) technology leads the forefront of translational research and outperforms drugs currently in the market as well as investigational new drugs.”

In silico clinical trials in combination with preclinical and clinical drug development efforts represent important pioneering steps towards accelerating the path to cures in IBD. Mechanistic and data driven modeling can optimize innovation and help address unmet clinical needs for more individualized therapeutic and prophylactic approaches in IBD.