San Francisco-based biotech company AltruBio received a substantial development in its mid-phase ulcerative colitis program with its latest $225 million series B funding. The recent and massive infusion of capital arrives as the company explores a tactical pivot in its trajectory while standing at the forefront of innovative therapeutic advancement. 

AltruBio, initially focused on oncology, shifted strategically towards immunology in 2021. The move signified a new chapter in its research and development endeavors. A renewed emphasis further accompanied it on neihulizumab, an immune checkpoint agonist antibody designed to modulate T-cell homeostasis by targeting PSGL-1. In navigating this transition, the company encountered challenges like the widespread disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Still, AltruBio overcame it by remaining resolute and fervently continuing to conduct studies on acute graft-versus-host disease.

Three years later, AltruBio redirected its focus again on ALTB-268, a novel drug candidate with a refined molecular structure aimed at enhancing therapeutic efficacy. Early studies have shown promising results, indicating increased potency in down-regulating chronic pathogenic T cells, thus raising hopes for improved treatment outcomes in ulcerative colitis patients, potentially at lower doses.

The phase 1 study in healthy volunteers was conducted in 2023 and proved successful. Following that early phase, AltruBio has since initiated a mid-phase study targeting ulcerative colitis patients who have specifically not responded to conventional biologic therapies. Optimistic about ALTB-268’s prospects, the company anticipates reporting data on the primary clinical remission in early 2025. Plans for a subsequent phase 2b trial are slated for late 2026. 

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Funding is always instrumental to medical efforts and advancements. AltruBio’s successful recent funding stems from several investors’ rousing support, including BVF Partners, RA Capital Management, Cormorant Asset Management, and Soleus Capital. The participation of returning investors from the company’s series A round, notably the lead aMoon Fund, demonstrates ample confidence in AltruBio’s strategic vision and scientific pursuits.

The unmet medical needs in ulcerative colitis currently stand as AltruBio’s immediate focus, but the company’s research holds potential implications that can extend far beyond just one disease’s improvement. Taking an innovative approach to targeting activated T cells,  ALTB-268 can address a range of inflammatory conditions, offering a fresh dose of hope to afflicted patients and healthcare providers. 

Burdened by chronic colon and rectum inflammation, people all over the world could benefit from relief of symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, and rectal bleeding. While ulcerative colitis is chronic, existing advancements in treatments have been found to enhance the quality of life for those with the disease. Treatment improves outcomes, but there is still much to be discovered and solved regarding ulcerative colitis, as its precise cause remains uncertain. Evolving research suggests multiple factors, such as a blend of genetic predisposition and environmental triggers, can be at the root. 

As those who suffer from ulcerative colitis remain eager for relief, AltruBio’s dedicated efforts in immune checkpoint modulation aim to make significant strides in producing long-lasting solutions. The company’s recent noteworthy funding achievement is a hopeful step toward true progress.