There is a soaring need for safer and more effective treatments for patients suffering from debilitating autoimmune chronic inflammatory diseases. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a common autoimmune disease affecting health and quality of life of about 1% of the world’s population. Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) is a group of inflammatory joint disorders affecting children and adolescents, often with life-long consequences. Treatment of severe JIA in children and RA in adults typically starts with a non-steroid anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), followed by methotrexate, a suppressor of the immune system and disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug (DMARD), which in turn is followed by, or combined with, a biological drug targeting a pro-inflammatory signaling protein of which tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα) is the one most commonly targeted. Similar treatment strategies are used for other chronic inflammatory diseases, e.g., inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) ulcerous colitis (UC) and Crohn´s disease (CD). However, a remarkable number of patients do not respond or experience a waning effect to currently available anti-inflammatory biologics. Clearly, there is a high medical need for efficacious drugs functioning through novel targets and modes of action.
Lipum is aiming to overcome this unmet need and has identified a new target for the treatment of chronic inflammatory diseases: bile salt-stimulated lipase (BSSL). BSSL has so far been an overlooked target and opens up a whole new opportunity for the treatment of chronic inflammatory diseases. Lipum’s therapeutic approach is an antibody that blocks the function of BSSL, thereby inhibiting the inflammatory process.