ISOThrive, a clinical-stage biotech company, has been awarded an $800,000 grant from Virginia Catalyst. ISOThrive will use the grant money to advance its microbiome therapeutic for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). Specifically, the funding will support a Phase 2A clinical study of a proprietary microbiome therapeutic for the treatment of GERD, which affects a third of the adult population in the United States.
The treatment also has the potential to reduce the risk of progression to Barrett's Esophagus and esophageal cancer. ISOThrive is collaborating with the Eastern VA medical school, University of VA, and George Mason University on the study.
What Does the Grant Entail?
The grant is one of just three awarded in this cycle by Virginia Catalyst. It's their mission to stimulate economic development by supporting collaborative projects that address substantial unmet needs for improving health while creating high-paying jobs in the state. ISOThrive's project was unanimously chosen by a peer-reviewed panel of CEOs, investors, scientists, and medical professionals in the life sciences sector.
"Having such a strong vote of confidence by our industry peers on the review panel and the Catalyst board is a big endorsement of our innovative technology to reduce microbiome-induced inflammation," Jack Oswald, ISOThrive CEO, CTO and co-founder said.
How Will ISOThrive Use the Grant?
Virginia Catalyst awarded ISOThrive the highest amount of funding because they believe the project can drive the state to the forefront of microbiome research and commercialization.
"The life sciences industry has been a catalyst for economic growth during the pandemic and is poised to accelerate Virginia's recovery in a post COVID world," said Mike Grisham, Virginia Catalyst's CEO. "Through programs like these grant initiatives, Virginia Catalyst and the Commonwealth of Virginia are investing in the future by driving additional capital and business opportunity through the life sciences. The funding we provide for these innovative programs helps generate significant outside capital and interest in Virginia. We are proud to announce the awardees for our eleventh round of funding as we help to finance the commercialization of Virginia's innovations and investment in research infrastructure tools to facilitate bioscience research."
An estimated $7.3 billion market opportunity of GERD sufferers could benefit from ISOThrive's study. The most commonly prescribed Proton Pump Inhibitors to treat GERD include Prilosec, Prevacid, Omeprazole, AstraZeneca, Dexilant, Protonix, and Aciphex. However, aside from the long-term use of these treatments being linked to severe health issues, like pneumonia, anemia, and osteoporosis, 40% of patients don't get adequate relief, and 46% want to stop using them altogether.
"Having researched and treated esophageal diseases for over 40 years, it's clear now that inflammation resulting from microbiome dysbiosis plays a key role in GERD," said David Johnson, a collaborator and Chief of Gastroenterology at Eastern VA Medical School. "ISOThrive's unique approach to treatment by reducing inflammation is a transformational science and a game changer."
Who is ISOThrive?
ISOThrive is focused on treating chronic diseases that are caused by microbiome imbalance by developing pioneering, proprietary digestion-resistant carbohydrates that target specific bacteria. Rectifying this imbalance is a potential key to treating numerous gastrointestinal conditions. They've developed a pair of platforms for rapid drug discovery and personalized microbiome medicine.
Since its inception, Virginia Catalyst has awarded 46 grants totaling $21.2 million. The awards range from $200,000 to $800,000 and help to back collaborative efforts between industry and Virginia research universities.
Their goal is two-fold, "Funding innovative, collaborative, translational research projects that elevate the level of sponsored research at Virginia's universities and have the potential to significantly improve human health and create high-value jobs in the Commonwealth," and "Accelerating commercialization of Virginia research university inventions and discoveries and to achieve competitive critical mass through robust collaborations of Virginia research universities and industry."