Potential IBD Treatment Moves Toward Clinical Testing

Beibei Chen and Rama K. Mallampalli headshots

An anti-inflammatory compound developed by University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine researchers and licensed by biotech startup Koutif Therapeutics has completed investigational new drug (IND)-enabling studies and reached clinical candidate status for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease, including ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.  

The compound, KT-1002, also shows promise in treating other inflammatory conditions including bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, acute lung injury and rheumatoid arthritis.

Koutif has licensed several compounds including KT-1002 from the University and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The intellectual property derived from research funded by multiple VA awards and National Institutes of Health grants.

Rama K. Mallampalli, professor and chief of the medical school’s Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Division and staff physician at the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System developed KT-1002 with associate professor Beibei Chen, director of the division’s Center for Small Molecule Therapeutics and co-director of its Acute Lung Injury Center of Excellence. The two hold equity in Koutif Therapeutics and are paid consultants to the company.

Koutif is a start-up launched by BioMotiv, the mission-driven accelerator associated with the Harrington Project for Discovery & Development, a $340 million national initiative for advancing medicine centered at University Hospitals in Cleveland.

“We are very encouraged by the results of the lead compound both in IND-enabling studies as well as in disease models,” said Baiju R. Shah, BioMotiv CEO and chairman of Koutif Therapeutics. “Based on the data, we plan to file an IND application by the end of the year.”