Ritter Pharmaceuticals Announces Collaboration with University of British Columbia to Explore Development of Microbiome Therapeutics in Environmental Enteropathy
February 13, 2017
Source: Ritter Pharmaceuticals
LOS ANGELES, CA–(Marketwired – Feb 13, 2017) – Ritter Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: RTTR) (“Ritter Pharmaceuticals” or the “Company”), a developer of novel therapeutic products that modulate the human gut microbiome to treat gastrointestinal diseases, today announced that it is collaborating with Dr. B Brett Finlay from the Michael Smith Laboratories at the University of British Columbia (“UBC”) to study the role of the microbiome and RP-G28 in environmental enteropathy (“EE”).
As part of the collaboration, Dr. B. Brett Finlay, an award-winning microbiologist in the fields of innate immunity and microbiome research, plans to explore the microbiome’s role in environmental enteropathy. The pre-clinical research is designed to build upon Dr. Finlay’s previously published studies demonstrating the gut microbiome’s role in contributing to the causes of EE. Ritter Pharmaceuticals is providing its lead compound, RP-G28, for use in the study. RP-G28 is currently in a Phase 2b/3 study in humans for the treatment of lactose intolerance. In previous human studies, RP-G28 has demonstrated significant beneficial changes to the gut microbiome that have been associated with potential to improve a variety of digestive disorders.
Andrew J. Ritter, Co-founder and President of Ritter Pharmaceuticals, added, “we are pleased to be collaborating with Dr. Finlay and his team to better understand therapeutic interventions that may reverse signs of environmental enteropathy, a significant worldwide health issue. We’re excited to apply our clinical knowledge of RP-G28 in a way that has significant possibilities to produce substantial social benefits in developing countries.”
Dr. B Brett Finlay, Professor in the Michael Smith Laboratories, and the Departments of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and Microbiology and Immunology at the University of British Columbia, added, “We are pleased to be working with Ritter Pharmaceuticals to explore potential treatments and therapies to environmental enteropathy that affects so many of the world’s children. Testing RP-G28 in the relevant model will greatly facilitate preclinical testing of this compound for affecting the outcome of EE.”
Dr. B. Brett Finlay Investigates How Microbes That Live On Us Affect Our Health And Development
Humans and microbes are intrinsically linked. Microscopic life forms are found on our skin and in our guts. Often we blame these microbes for making us sick when we feel bad, however most microbes play beneficial and highly specialized roles in our day-to-day lives. The collection of microbes found living in equilibrium with us (our microbiome) has played a crucial role in our survival and evolution as a species. There is much insight to be gained from a better understanding of the human microbiome.
Dr. B. Brett Finlay is doing just that as the program co-director of the “Humans & the Microbiome” as part of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR). CIFAR is a publicly and privately supported research organization that “connects many of the world’s best minds – across borders and between disciplines – to shape new perspectives and spark groundbreaking ideas.” CIFAR helps innovative research pioneers by encouraging them “to expand the boundaries of understanding in ways that would otherwise not be possible.”
Dr. Finlay’s program is one of only four projects selected from 260 initial entries, currently there are a total of 14 funded programs. The “Humans & the Microbiome” program is exploring very fundamental questions probing aspects of how microbes might influence our evolution. Some of the interesting questions they are attempting to answer include using 4thcentury Roman latrines to explore the microbial composition of earlier civilizations. Also, differences in microbial composition of humans in North America pre- and post- colonization by Europeans, this is shedding light on topics such as disease and human evolution. Dr. Finlay is also exploring aspects relating to human health such as how brain development is impacted by microbes and the effect of microbiota on malnutrition.
CIFAR members meet bi-annually which generate much discussion. The meeting is an excellent opportunity to have, “lots of time for discussing science with a diverse group of scientific leaders in their respective fields,” says Dr. Finlay. These meetings generate new ideas and directions for the respective CIFAR programs. Dr. Finlay hopes that he can be an ambassador for relaying the importance of microbiomes to the general public. About the opportunity to be part of CIFAR, Dr. Finlay say that, “It’s important to have time to explore a problem and discuss it with other deep intellects.”
Let Them Eat Dirt
Bugs ‘R Us: The Role of Microbes in Disease, Health and Society
On May 21, 2013, Dr. B. Brett Finlay, award-winning microbiologist, delivered the spring 2013 Wall Exchange and examined how bacteria live in the human body and help maintain good health. This talk, held at the Vogue Theatre in downtown Vancouver, explores new research on the role of the microbiota in health, mechanisms used by microbes to cause disease, and new approaches to counter infections, including potentially using the microbiota to prevent other diseases. The talk opened with The Oscar Hicks Jazz Sextet, with Dr. Finlay on the saxophone.
Abstract: The microbiota (also known as the normal flora of the human body) is comprised of thousands of species of microbes. Only recently have we begun to appreciate the role of these organisms in health, impacting on diarrhea, obesity, various bowel diseases, type I diabetes, asthma, and even brain development. In developed countries, we have gone to great lengths to minimize our exposure to microbes, both pathogenic and harmless. The Hygiene Hypothesis suggests that perhaps we have gone too far, as hominids have evolved in a sea of microbes, and actually need exposure to microbes early in life to develop normally.