Chronic inflammatory diseases represent the greatest collective
burden of suffering and economic cost in the developed world
affecting one-in-three people and causing hundreds of billions of
Pounds to be incurred annually in healthcare costs.
Many of the therapies currently available for inflammatory
disorders treat only the symptoms of the disease, and not the
underlying cause of inflammation. Although inflammation is the
unifying factor among diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, asthma
and psoriasis, the treatment approach required for each type of
inflammatory disease is often unique. Inflammation therefore
represents a wide range of diseases with individual
Aquapharm is currently screening its marine microbe collection
for new chemical entities that will inhibit specific cytokines and
combinations of cytokines in the nuclear transcription factor,
NF-kB, pathway including IL-17, TNF-a and IL-6.
Small-molecule inhibitors of the pro-inflammatory cytokine IL-17
are a particular priority. IL-17 promotes inflammation by inducing
various pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines, recruiting
neutrophils, enhancing antibody production, and activating T cells.
IL-17 expression is also augmented in autoimmune diseases such as
multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, irritable bowel disease
and psoriasis. Models of these diseases have shown that IL-17 plays
a central role in their development and it therefore represents an
attractive therapeutic target for Aquapharm.
To date, the vast majority of pharmaceuticals developed to treat
disease through the modulation of cytokines have been "biologics" -
i.e. therapeutic proteins such as antibodies. Whilst these can be
very effective, they are expensive to produce and typically need to
be injected. Aquapharm believes that compounds produced by its
marine micro-organisms can achieve comparable or superior efficacy
and safety to biologics in inhibiting cytokines whilst being much
cheaper to produce and administered as oral