Ilya Pharma is breaking new ground developing new types of drug candidates. The company runs projects in gastrointestinal indications and wound treatment.
Today, there are no immunotherapies utilizing chemokines, proteins that direct and instruct immune cells in the body. Chemokines are, by nature, very instable proteins. Ilya Pharma has overcome this by developing a technology platform where lactic acid bacteria are genetically engineered to produce human chemokines, these then act as mini-bioreactors and produce the human chemokine directly to the injured tissue and there instruct the local immune cells to dampen inflammation or aid in- and accelerate the healing processes.
The company now focus on development of two drug candidates in preclinical- and clinical trials and both are already showing promising results. Ilya Pharma has now returned for a second time to the experimental Testa Center in Uppsala – this time trying to verify the optimizations of the existing GMP-compliant bioprocess, and to test the process at even larger scales.
“We are delighted to be back in the Testa Center. It is such a positive experience when gathering important data. They have knowledgeable and helpful staff who really give us high-quality help and it feels like they really want us to succeed. The premises are also pleasant and functional, and you can have meaningful interactions with the other companies on site,” says Lovisa Ringstad, Head of CMC at Ilya Pharma, adding that she speaks for the whole team as they all appreciate being at the Testa Center again.
Ilya Pharma has just completed their first-in-human Phase I trial for ILP100 as a topical formulation and the team is getting ready to commence phase II trials and the expectation is to dose the first patient in mid 2021. Progress has been extremely rapid considering ILP100 is the first drug based on genetically engineered Lactobacillus for accelerated wound healing in skin and mucosa, which has necessitated innovations in CMC, bioassays and protocol. Having the possibility to scale-up and evaluate the bioprocess in Testa Center significantly de-risks the project and saves time and money, says Evelina Vågesjö, Ilya Pharma´s CEO. “Testa Center has meant a lot for us, that we have kept our timelines and I hope and think it has made an impact for the commercial success of more Life Science companies. Having it close by helps prioritizing these de-risking activities. It has been very convenient for our CMC team, we just check-in with our materials, got assistance in setting up the experiments and also got help when things did not work out as planned. This kind of open facilities with top notch equipment should make a large difference to the whole Life Science industry”, she adds.