Oral Treatment for Inflammatory Bowel Disease Doses First Patients in Phase 1 Trial

As reported in BioSpace; trials for an oral treatment to treat inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) by Morphic Therapeutics has just dosed their first healthy subjects in the Phase 1 trial. The new molecule, MORF-057, is still in clinical development and being studied to determine the oral therapies safety and effectiveness, as well as the pharmacokinetic profile. This drug, specifically targeting ulcerative colitis, is similar to an available injectable option, but the oral administration would make access and injection easier for patients.

Inflammatory Bowel Sisease

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is the umbrella term for a group of rare disorders which cause inflammation in the patient’s digestive tract.  This leads a wide variety of experiences depending on the size and extent of inflammation, but typical symptoms include fever, tiredness, diarrhea, abdominal pain and cramping, bloody stool, loss of appetite, and weight loss. For many patients, these symptoms come in waves followed by periods of remission. There are necessary treatment options that help reduce symptomatic and help relieve symptoms.

Ulcerative Colitis

Ulcerative colitis (UC) is the name of a rare inflammatory bowel disease, known for its characteristic sores and ulcers on the large intestine. These sores can cause loose bowel movements, fatigue, weight loss, anemia, cramping, joint pain, blood in stools, and rashes.  While no cure exists, different treatment options can be used symptomatically, and if the disease is too far progressed, surgery may be used to remove parts of the colon.

Phase 1 Trials Dosing Begins

The phase 1 clinical trial on oral treatment MORF-057 has already undergone rigorous pre-clinical research that has shown the drug to be capable of selectively targeting a mechanism that contributes to symptoms. This is similar to an already available injectable treatment option, vedolizumab, which acts on the same mechanism, the α4β7 integrin, but the oral option provides a much more accessible and easily processed mode of ingestion. The chief medical officer of Morphic Therapeutic, Dr. Peter Linde, said to Biospace,
“Based on its extensive preclinical data package, we believe that MORF-057 can selectively target the same clinically validated mechanism as the approved injectable antibody, vedolizumab, but utilizing a substantially more convenient oral small molecule.
The trial aims to test multiple different doses of the treatment in order to assess which is best. It will also generate pharmacokinetic and safety data. The results of the study are expected to be released in the first half of 2021.

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