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PureTech launches Alivio Therapeutics for inflammatory disease

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

PureTech Health, a cross-disciplinary healthcare company tackling fundamental healthcare needs, has launched Alivio Therapeutics, which is developing a novel technology for the targeted treatment of inflammatory disorders.

The technology is based on an innovative hydrogel material that is designed to adhere to and deliver drugs to inflamed tissue based on the degree of inflammation (e.g., more drug is released at site with greater inflammation). This approach may help overcome major technical challenges in the field, enabling new therapies that have the potential to address multiple acute and chronic inflammatory disorders. The technology was jointly developed by Jeff Karp, Ph.D., Alivio co-founder and associate professor at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), Harvard Medical School and Alivio co-founder and PureTech Health non-executive director and scientific advisory board member, Robert Langer, Sc.D., David H. Koch Institute Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

“There are dozens of diseases where inflammation plays a central role, and patients and their doctors are looking for better, longer-lasting treatments that offer relief,” said Michael B. Brenner, M.D., Alivio Scientific advisory board member and chief of the division of Rheumatology, Immunology and Allergy, BWH. “We are hopeful that the development of new technologies for delivering and sustaining treatment to inflamed tissue will allow us to manage chronic and acute inflammation with more precision and control.”

Current therapeutic options, such as systemic steroids and immunosuppression, can fail to adequately control disease and may have significant side effects. Furthermore, targeting newly discovered mechanisms of inflammation has historically been difficult due to off-target effects and toxicity. Alivio seeks to overcome these limitations through a novel “smart adhere and release” drug delivery system. This proprietary technology is designed to adhere to inflamed tissue and deliver anti-inflammatory medication based on the levels of inflammation in that tissue. This has the potential to maximize treatment efficacy while minimizing the risks associated with drug exposure to healthy tissues and may enable new, disease-modifying drugs.

“What differentiates this technology is its potential to safely adhere to inflamed tissue while controlling drug release based on the amount of inflammation,” said Dr. Robert Langer. “These unique properties hold promise to change the way inflammatory disease is treated in a variety of indications.”

Alivio was co-founded by PureTech Health and a group of the world’s leading experts in biomaterials and immunology. The company’s founding team and advisors include:

  • Jeff Karp, Ph.D., is Alivio co-founder and associate professor at BWH, Harvard Medical School; principal faculty at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute; affiliate faculty at the Broad Institute and at the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology; and Principal Investigator Karp Lab.
  • Robert Langer, Sc.D., is Alivio co-founder and member of the Alivio board of directors; co-founder and non-executive director at PureTech Health; member of PureTech’s scientific advisory board; David H. Koch Institute Professor at MIT; and previously served as a member and chair of the FDA’s SCIENCE Board.
  • Michael B. Brenner, M.D., is Alivio scientific advisory board member and Theodore B. Bayles Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School; chief of the division of Rheumatology, Immunology and Allergy at BWH; was the scientific co-founder of Adheron Therapeutics (acquired by Roche); and was elected member of the U.S. National Academy of Science.
  • Ivana Magovcevic-Liebisch, Ph.D., J.D., is director, Alivio board of directors and senior vice president and head of Global Business Development at Teva Pharmaceuticals; responsible for the execution of transactions identified by Teva’s Research and Development, Global Franchises and U.S. Specialty teams; formerly executive vice president and chief operating offer of Dyax, which was acquired by Shire Pharmaceuticals for ~$5.9 billion; formerly director of Intellectual Property and Patent Counsel for Transkaryotic Therapies; and Applied Genetic Technologies Board member.
  • Ulrich H. von Andrian, M.D., Ph.D., is Alivio scientific advisory board member and Mallinckrodt Professor of Immunopathology at Harvard Medical School.
  • Ralph Weissleder, M.D., Ph.D., is Alivio scientific advisory board member and Thrall Professor of Radiology and Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School; director of the Center for Systems Biology at Massachusetts General Hospital; and member of the U.S. National Academy of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the German National Academy of Sciences (Leopoldina).

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