Jan 30, 2023
Dr. Ira Spector is the CEO and Co-Founder of SFA Therapeutics, a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company leading the way as a fourth-generation microbiome company to treat inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. The first microbiome companies focused on fecal transplants, while the next innovation was probiotics. The third generation took the understanding of the bacteria in the GI microbiome to derive bacteria for each patient. SFA is asking what the bacteria make and their physiological function in order to synthetically make those substances as an effective small molecule drug.
Ira explains, "The immune system in the human body is regulated up and down by messengers called cytokines. And long before cytokine storm and COVID came about, we were researching how to control these signals in the body. In particular, what we found is that there are cytokines related to these autoimmune diseases. It turns out that when you do a review across a range of autoimmune diseases, you find the same four or five cytokines related to those diseases over and over and over again. And what we have found are substances normally made in the GI by bacteria that can be turned into drugs that regulate or modulate these immune system signals and return the immune system to normal."
"We believe that these have the potential to be used to treat a range of autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. Our analogy is just as insulin was revolutionary for Type 1 diabetics because they couldn't make sufficient insulin themselves, that patients with these diseases often lack the ability to make these substances. By providing them exogenously as a drug, we can take their immune system back to normal and reduce the inflammation associated with these autoimmune diseases."
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