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Therapeutic Protein Nanoparticles for the Treatment of Inflammatory Bowel Diseases


Therapeutic nanoparticle of the AvrA protein for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

Key Benefits
  • AvrA protein, at 33 kilodaltons, is approximately one-fifth the molecular weight of current antibody-based biologics.
  • Use of uniform protein nanoparticles improves cellular uptake compared to existing biologics.
  • Potential therapeutic with less severe side effects compared to biologics and corticosteroids.
  • Has potential for oral or rectal delivery.
Market Summary

Approximately 1.4 million individuals in the US and 2.2 million individuals in Europe suffer from IBD. Currently there is no cure and IBD usually requires lifetime treatment. The most common treatment for IBD is mesalazine, a small molecule that acts as an inflammatory suppressant. Although mesalazine has a low incidence of systemic side effects, its therapeutic effectiveness in patients with Crohn’s disease is doubted and controversial. Other therapies on the market for inflammatory bowel diseases are biologics that have extreme side effects and carry black box labels due to increased susceptibility to serious infections.

Technical Summary

AvrA is a 33 kilodalton protein that is produced by the bacteria Salmonella typhimurium, a pathogen that is a major cause of human gastroenteritis. The AvrA protein inhibits the NF-kappaB and JNK MAPK pathways, thereby suppressing inflammatory and apoptotic responses. It is thought that this function allows the bacteria to infect cells while simultaneously suppressing the immune and apoptotic activity of the host. Emory researchers have formulated AvrA protein into nanoparticles with diameters of ~100 nm. This nanoscale size is optimized for delivery into the intestinal epithelia. Specifically, the nanoparticles are produced by the use of a chemical crosslinking agent. The compound contains a central disulfide bond that, when reduced inside cells, can release the individual proteins. These AvrA protein nanoparticles therefore serve as both the therapeutic and the delivery vehicle. Studies show that AvrA nanoparticles reduce inflammation in mouse models of acute inflammation and colitis in vivo.

Developmental Stage

In vivo proof-of-principle study completed. Data from mouse models of inflammation show reduced inflammation and suggest potential therapeutic efficiency.

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Patent Information
App Type Country Serial No. Patent No. File Date Issued Date Expire Date Patent Status
Nationalized PCT - Foreign United States 14/774,764 9,962,423 9/11/2015 5/8/2018 3/11/2034 Issued
Nationalized PCT - Foreign EP 14778712.1   9/24/2015   3/11/2034 Pending
Divisional United States 15/946,240 10,206,976 4/5/2018 2/19/2019 3/11/2034 Issued
Tech ID: 12090
Published: 11/7/2013

John Nicosia
Licensing Associate
Emory University

Andrew Neish
Julie Champion