Langer's PureTech launches newco developing hydrogel to treat inflammatory disorders

PureTech Health ($PRTC), a life sciences development company founded in part by Robert Langer, has announced a new startup, its second disclosed in as many days. This one, dubbed Alivio Therapeutics, will focus on using an innovative hydrogel to treat chronic and acute inflammation.

The news comes on the heels of yesterday's announcement by PureTech that it had formed Vor BioPharma, which will focus on CAR-T therapy, a kind of cell therapy for cancer that has shown encouraging early results in fighting certain blood cancers.

Alivio is banking on a hydrogel it designed that sticks to inflamed tissue and can deliver drugs depending on the level of inflammation, the company said. The worse the condition, the more of the drug it releases. The new company hopes the hydrogel will allow for better inflammation management by physicians with improved precision and control than through the use of systemic steroids and immunosuppression.

"What differentiates this technology is its potential to safely adhere to inflamed tissue while controlling drug release based on the amount of inflammation," Langer said in a statement. "These unique properties hold promise to change the way inflammatory disease is treated in a variety of indicators."

The novel and much-published and written-about hydrogel technology is designed to adhere to inflamed tissue and accommodate payloads including small molecules and biologics. Its versatility also lends itself to cosmetic uses, such as tightening aging skin and removing bags or wrinkles around the eyes.

Although Alivio said in its press release it will target "dozens of conditions" related to inflammation, it didn't specify which conditions it will go after first.

In addition to Langer, other Alivio co-founders and board members include Jeff Karp, an associate professor at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School; Michael Brenner, Ulrich von Andrian, and Ralph Weissleder, all of Harvard Medical School; and Ivana Magovcevic-Liebisch, SVP at Teva ($TEVA) Pharmaceutical.

- here's PureTech's release

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