Our team is focused on the discovery and development of novel immune cell-modulating drugs. We are investigating the use of these drugs to bring damaging inflammation under control.

Bacainn Therapeutics

Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a chronic, idiopathic inflammatory disease that targets the colon. It is characterized by relapsing and remitting mucosal inflammation. UC inflammation is known to be associated with the presence of high levels of neutrophils and neutrophil biomarkers (e.g., calprotectin). The incidence and prevalence of UC has been increasing worldwide with a prevalence in the US estimated at >200 cases per 100,000 persons per year. Moderate to severe UC can be extremely debilitating to the affected patient, with a major impact on quality of life, overall health and predisposition to gastrointestinal cancer. Pharmacological treatments for moderate to severe UC include anti-inflammatory agents, immunosuppressants (e.g., azathioprine and 6-mercaptopurine), corticosteroids and immunomodulating biologics (e.g., Humira®, Entyvio®).. Although these treatments can be effective at inducing remission in patients, typical side-effects are significant, including increased risk of infection and malignancies, and tolerability. In addition, corticosteroids cannot be used long term, and newer biologics are only effective in about 20% of patients. Therefore, there is an unmet need for safer, more effective treatments.

Orally dosed BT051 is specifically targeted to modulate both neutrophil migration to the colonic lumen and their activation once there. The drug lacks general immunosuppressive activity and has been shown to have very low systemic exposure and a good safety profile in preclinical studies.

About 1 in 10 people in the United States has diabetes, with greater than 1 million new cases being diagnosed annually. The consequences of diabetes include reduced blood flow to the extremities, decreased sensation in the extremities due to neuropathy and dysregulated immune cell function. All these factors predispose diabetic patients to wounds in their extremities that are difficult to heal. Specifically, both altered neutrophil function and inflammasome activation are known to be contributing factors to chronic inflammation and consequent lack of healing.

Diabetic wounds lead to a significant amount of morbidity in patients, including infection, decreased mobility and amputation. Current standards of care are surgical removal of necrotic tissue, irrigation, antibiotic treatment and orthotics. There is a clear need for improved therapies to accelerate healing in these patients.

Bacainn has discovered 2 classes of molecules that modulate both neutrophils and the inflammasome and intends to develop these as therapies to speed wound healing in diabetic patients.

Respiratory inflammation can occur as a result of viral, bacterial or fungal infection, chemical exposure or inhalation of foreign particulates such as silica, allergens and smoke. The beneficial aspects of inflammation help to clear infection or repair the effects of these insults. If the inflammation becomes chronic or uncontrolled, patients can suffer irreversible lung damage, and in extreme cases, fluid and immune cell buildup leading to hypoxia and death. The latter often occurs in patients infected with respiratory viruses such as seasonal as well as pandemic influenza such as the current SARS-CoV-2.

Bacainn’s anti-inflammatory molecules have demonstrated benefit in preclinical models of pandemic influenza. Our treatments both prolong survival in these models and reduce overt immune cell activity late in disease. We intend to advance these molecules to pre-clinical safety studies to enable their testing in humans.