Fresh from a new CAR-T biotech, PureTech launches Alivio Therapeutics

Just one day after launching Vor BioPharma with some preclinical CAR-T tech licensed from Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee, Boston’s VC-cum-research biotech has launched another new preclinical company--this time focused on inflammatory disorders.

The new company, called Alivio Therapeutics, comes with new tech based on a hydrogel material that is designed to stick to and deliver drugs to inflamed tissue, based on the degree of inflammation (e.g., more drug is released at sites with greater inflammation).

This approach may help overcome current technical challenges in the field, enabling new therapies that have the potential to address multiple acute and chronic inflammatory disorders, according to PureTech, which owns 91% of the company and will run its operations.

The technology was jointly developed by Jeff Karp, Alivio co-founder and associate professor at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, and Alivio co-founder and PureTech Health ($PRTC) nonexecutive director and scientific advisory board member Robert Langer, David H. Koch Institute Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Ivana Magovcevic-Liebisch, the senior vice president and head of global business development at Israeli generics giant Teva ($TEVA), is also on the company’s board of directors.

In a statement, the fledgling biotech said it seeks “to provide a solution to the dozens of conditions where inflammation is a central part of the underlying disease pathology, but targeted and effective treatment options are lacking.”

Current treatment options in this area, such as systemic steroids and immunosuppression, can fail to adequately control disease and may have some nasty side effects, something Alivio will aim to reduce with its tech.

It said it seeks to overcome these limitations through a “smart adhere and release” drug delivery system.

This 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 increase efficacy while minimizing the risks associated with drug exposure to healthy tissues and may enable new, disease-modifying drugs, the company said.  

This particular technology is however very early-stage for the company and has so far just been tested in animal models, with any new drugs from the biotech requiring many hundreds of millions of dollars, luck and hard work in the clinic.  

Parent company PureTech has not given a timeline on when any drugs may enter the clinic, or what inflammatory targets it is seeking to treat.

In a recent piece for Science Translational Medicine, Langer, Karp, and others described using the gel in a mouse model of ulcerative colitis, a bowel disease that can cause inflammation in the digestive tract, which is already well catered for with a saturated market of meds (and soon, biosimilars).

Always quick with the big names, PureTech launched a new biotech just yesterday, licensing a new CAR-T preclinical platform from Pulitzer Prize-winning oncologist Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee. This too is very early stage, though PureTech has high hopes it may be able to “go beyond the B cell” and treat more cancers than current research can.

- check out the release