Integral Molecular, the industry leader in antibody discovery against multipass membrane proteins, was awarded $1.4M by the NIH to develop its lead antibodies against cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) for treating the liver disease nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and metabolic disorders, including obesity and metabolic syndrome. With this Phase 2 SBIR grant, Integral Molecular builds on its successful Phase 1 SBIR program isolating antibodies with high specificity and high affinity for CB1. The goal of the Phase 2 project is to develop antibodies for initiating preclinical studies.
More than 10 million people in the United States have NASH, a chronic inflammatory condition that can lead to liver cirrhosis and liver failure. Although CB1 is a validated GPCR target for NASH and metabolic disorders, small-molecule CB1 inhibitors cause adverse psychoactive effects. By contrast, monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) do not cross the blood-brain barrier and have superior specificity and target selectivity over small-molecule drugs. Using its MPS Antibody Discovery platform that addresses the challenges of MAb discovery against GPCRs, Integral Molecular has isolated extremely rare inhibitory MAbs against CB1 for treating NASH.
"The MPS technology delivers large panels of diverse MAbs against membrane proteins, which was required to find highly specific inhibitory CB1 MAbs," said Benjamin Doranz, CEO of Integral Molecular. "Given the historic failure of small-molecule drugs targeting CB1, we are excited to offer an ideal therapeutic antibody discovery solution for NASH."
About Integral Molecular
Integral Molecular is the industry leader in membrane protein antibody discovery, with a pipeline of therapeutic antibodies against GPCRs, ion channels, transporters, and immuno-oncology targets. Built on the company's extensive experience optimizing membrane proteins, this platform enables the isolation, characterization, and engineering of MAbs against otherwise intractable targets. The company currently has therapeutic programs focused on cancer, pain, immunity, and metabolic disorders.