Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

We also intend to develop a potential first-in-class FXR agonist for the treatment of IBD, including ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, as we believe FXR plays a key role in the disease process.

Patients with IBD can suffer from abdominal pain and bloody diarrhea and have increased risk of colorectal cancer. The global incidence of IBD is increasing and as of 2015, it was estimated that there were 3.1 million people in the United States with IBD. Global drug sales for IBD are approximately $9.0 billion annually, with injectable biologics commonly used to treat patients with moderate-to-severe IBD. While these biologic agents can be effective initially, they increase the risk of opportunistic infections and can be cumbersome to administer.

In preclinical studies of our FXR agonists, we have observed improvement in colon inflammation on a level similar to that of biologics. We believe an oral, once-daily drug could be an attractive treatment option for IBD patients.