Both ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn’s disease are long-term (chronic) diseases involving inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. Ulcerative colitis only affects the colon (large intestine), while Crohn’s disease can affect the entire digestive system, from the mouth to the anus.
Blueberry’s current drug development focus is in meeting unmet medical need in ulcerative colitis.
Ulcerative Colitis is an inflammatory condition, affecting the colon, for which there is a substantial unmet medical need. The aim of drug therapy in UC is essentially two-fold; firstly, to induce remission but secondly (and importantly) prevent subsequent relapses. 5-aminosalicylic acid (5-ASA) formulations are first line therapy and generally well tolerated and effective in inducing remission in some patients, particularly those with mild to moderate disease. However, a substantial proportion of patients need additional therapy to attain remission and moreover, many patients relapse despite chronic 5-ASA therapy. In patients who ‘fail’ 5-ASA treatment, steroids and infliximab are useful at inducing remission. Moreover, azathiprine/6MP and infliximab are also effective at maintaining remission and thereby preventing relapse. However, these medications are far from ideal because they have substantial toxicity and are not effective in many patients.
Although a number of new drugs are being evaluated for UC the majority are for moderate to severe disease. The vast majority of patients with mild to moderate disease may not be well served by these therapies because they will likely carry substantial side-effects or safety concerns that limit their use. Hence, there is a considerable market for a new compound that induces and maintains remission with a safety and toxicity profile that supports chronic use.
BB0109 is Blueberry’s novel nanomedicine that will deliver a unique, potent anti-inflammatory compound that will “switch off” the inflammation in IBD and, with continued therapy, will prevent its relapse. Blueberry considers BB0109 to have considerable potential in the market place, and see it, initially, as an additional therapy on top of 5-ASA in mild-moderate UC.