Avaxia uses its proprietary oral antibody technology platform to develop gut-targeted therapeutics.
Gut-targeted therapeutics are drugs that are administered orally and act locally in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, including the mouth, throat, and intestines, with minimal (or no) transport to other parts of the body. This class of therapeutics is very attractive for two key reasons.
- Target Access: Numerous receptor proteins on the intestinal surface have recently been found to influence serious diseases outside of the gut, such as type 2 diabetes and hypertension. These targets are only accessible from the interior of the intestines. Drugs that can access these targets offer new opportunities for therapeutic intervention. In addition, even for biological targets that are accessible via the blood, like TNF, local delivery to the GI tract may enable a higher dose to reach where the disease occurs. This could improve efficacy.
- Enhanced Safety: Because gut-targeted therapeutics are designed to remain in the GI tract rather than distributing throughout the body, they should minimize the potential for side effects in other parts of the body. This is especially important for drugs that suppress the immune system, like anti-TNF antibodies.
Antibodies are a proven class of drug products, with sales exceeding $50 billion per year in many different therapeutic areas. Antibodies have the benefit of very specific and tight binding to their targets, which at first glance would make them excellent candidates for gut-targeted therapeutics. However, all of the currently marketed antibodies are susceptible to digestive processes in the mouth, stomach, and intestines and therefore cannot survive direct delivery to the GI tract or act locally in the GI tract. These antibody drugs must be administered by injection or infusion and usually travel throughout the body where they can cause unwanted side effects.
In contrast, Avaxia’s proprietary oral antibodies resist digestion, which makes them ideally suited to use as gut-targeted therapeutics. Our oral antibodies can modulate or neutralize any biological targets that are accessible via the digestive tract, including the mouth, throat, and intestines. For example, categories of accessible targets in the intestines include: targets present within the intestinal lumen (e.g., gluten and other food antigens); targets located on the luminal face of the intestines (e.g., sugar transporters and receptors); and targets located below the mucosal barrier of the intestines (e.g., inflammatory cytokines like TNF) when the mucosal barrier is “leaky” because of inflammation or another abnormal condition. Avaxia has identified dozens of targets that are accessible to oral antibody treatments.
Avaxia generates its antibodies in ordinary dairy cows using a proprietary process. The antibodies are isolated from the early milk (colostrum). Bovine colostral antibodies have been engineered by nature to resist digestion, making them ideal for use as gut-targeted therapeutics. Avaxia has five issued US patents and numerous other applications under review in the United States and other major market countries. Avaxia owns all of its patent rights.