Thelial – targeting disease by reinforcing biological barriers.
Thelial has developed a discovery technology to identify drug candidates targeted to reinforce biological barriers. We have identified a portfolio of lead compounds; the first is now in development to target orphan indication Eosinophilic Esophagitis. Preclinical tests in other indications will include gastrointestinal and neurodegeneration indications.
Drosophila based drug discovery (theLiTE™)
Thelial has developed theLiTE™, our proprietary Drosophila based screening technology to identify hit compounds against epithelial disease. By focussing on target Par6 we identify compounds geared to reinforce biological barriers by strengthening tight junctions. theLiTE™ is based on exposing Drosophila epithelia to test candidate compounds. The advantage of theLiTE™ over tissue culture-based platforms is that our system uses an entire normal developing tissue, mimicking the clinical situation more closely than cells in culture. The epithelial tissue used is extremely robust, reducing false positives and raising chances of identifying bona fide active compounds.
theEoE – reinforcing barrier resistance to target Eosinophilic Esophagitis
The first indication we target affects the esophagus. Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EoE) is a orphan disease with patients suffering an allergic response to eating food. Currently there are no marketed treatments for EoE; typically corticosteroids are used off-label. Reduced barrier resistance appears to play a crucial role in EoE.
Preclinical proof-of-concept work shows a selected lead compound is as effective as clinically used corticosteroid Budesonide. Now we are formulating this active ingredient and preparing to enter clinical trials with our partner Dr. Albert Bredenoord and his team at AMC Amsterdam.
This work is financed in part by the European Research Council and a grant under the European Union Horizon 2020 SME Instrument program.