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TVM and Tillotts form company to take on ulcerative colitis

Mage Biologics aims to progress a novel, orally administered monoclonal antibody.

TVM Capital Life Science (TVM), a company that concentrates on life sciences investments, has linked up with Tillotts Pharma, to jointly invest up to $28 million in the newly formed biotechnology company, Mage Biologics.

In addition, TVM will provide strategic advice to Mage Bio, with Dr Sascha Berger, general partner, joining the board of directors and Dr Ivan Shaw, principal, becoming a board observer.

Mage Biologics aims to progress to proof of concept of a novel, orally administered, humanised monoclonal antibody (mAb) bioengineered for optimal potency and tissue penetration. This mAb has been developed by Tillotts and emerged from a discovery partnership with Swiss biotech company Numab Therapeutics.

Incorporating Tillotts’ sustained release approach, the antibody has been created to allow the release of the therapy in the targeted region of the intestinal tract at a predetermined rate. This method addresses inflammation both locally and optimally.

In the first instance, the drug will be developed for the treatment of ulcerative colitis, while manufacturing of clinical-grade material is planned to start this year, with the goal of submitting a clinical trial application next year.

Johannes Spleiss, head of scientific affairs at Tillotts and chief executive officer of Mage Biologics, explained: “We are taking a new and potentially disruptive approach to overcome the challenges with traditional ulcerative colitis treatments with this oral antibody.

“Developing more efficacious therapies with a greater likelihood of success and less systemic side effects is an important step in continuing to innovate for the many patients living with this condition.”

Thomas Tóth von Kiskér, chief executive officer and board director at Tillotts, reflected: “We are excited to team up with TVM Capital Life Science to advance this oral antibody in ulcerative colitis, a lifelong disease profoundly impacting the patient’s quality of life. The collaboration with TVM underpins Tillotts’ leading role in developing and commercializing innovative products in the gastrointestinal field.”

Berger, general partner of TVM Capital Life Science and member of the board of Mage Biologics, added: “TVM Capital Life Science is proud to have enabled the creation of Mage Biologics. This investment is again a testament to our strong international network and builds on our successful single asset focus for innovative preclinical therapeutic agents.”

Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease that impacts millions of people globally.

Tillotts currently has licensed products across 65 countries.