InteliSpark client, Senti Biosciences Inc. has been awarded an SBIR Phase I grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases for their project, “engineering cell therapies to treat inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)”.
IBD affects an estimated 1.5-3 million Americans and costs an estimated $14.6 billion each year, only doubling every decade. IBD is due to dysfunction of the immune system and affects the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, causing patients to experience painful conditions such as diarrhea, abdominal pain and rectal bleeding. It can also lead to extraintestinal complications which include osteoporosis, kidney stones, joint pain, and various soft-tissue ailments. Depression and stress can also contribute to IBD flares. The complications of IBD can become serious and more than 1 out of 10 patients will require surgery within five years of diagnosis. There is no cure for IBD, and a majority of the current treatments have been seen to cause terrible side effects, and found to be not very effective.
Senti Biosciences plans to address the complications of inflammatory bowel disease by the use of their proprietary cell engineering technologies to develop a safer and more efficacious IBD therapy treatment. The technology is engineer to accelerate speed and precision of genetic control circuits implemented into living cells. These gene circuit technologies have the ability to turn mammalian cells into adaptive medicines that can sense disease states and respond by producing combinatorial therapies, offering the right amount of treatment at the right place and time. With unprecedented control over cellular function, Senti’s cell circuit technology has the capability to address diseases that are difficult to treat with existing drugs, especially beneficial for the control of immune-mediated diseases. Senti Biosciences is able to combat the challenges current immunotherapies experience such as keeping the efforts localized, spatially and temporally, by the ability to use the cell circuits and target multiple systemic components.
With the awarded funds, Senti will be able to develop a proof-of-concept data for novel technology in which an engineered genetic circuit will enable mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) to sense the activation of a nuclear transcription factor that plays a key role in autoimmune disorders and responds by delivering anti-inflammatory therapeutics. Then proof-of-concept data will be collected from mouse studies of an autoimmune disease. Lastly, Senti will be able to shift efforts towards the completion of the preclinical pharmacokinetics, safety and efficacy studies allowing for an Investigational New Drug (IND) application with the FDA.