AB-BIOBETTER, led by Bio-Sourcing, to pioneer development of new oral formulation of adalimumab for inflammatory bowel diseases; offering patients less invasive, more cost-effective and potentially more potent treatment options

Liège (Belgium), Montpellier (France) and London (UK), May 28, 2024 – Bio-Sourcing, with partners Ciloa and Intract Pharma, today announce the launch of a €3.4M ($3.7M) EU-funded program, including €1.9M in subsidies from EUREKA Eurostars. The three-year AB-BIOBETTER project aims to develop an oral antibody treatment for Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD), such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, as well as for other systemic immunology indications. Bio-Sourcing, a Belgian biotechnology company developing a new platform for the sustainable production of a new generation of biotherapeutics, is the lead coordinator of the project. Its partners are Ciloa, a French preclinical stage biotechnology company and pioneer in the field of exosomes (a subpopulation of extracellular vesicles (EV)) bioengineering, and Intract Pharma, a UK developer of disruptive oral antibody delivery solutions.

AB-BIOBETTER was selected during the Eurostars call for projects. It is co-financed by the national budgets of each partner’s state, via the Public Service of Wallonia for the Economy, Employment and Research, Bpifrance and Innovate UK, as well as by the European Union. It aims to develop a daily pill-based version of adalimumab, an anti-TNF-α monoclonal antibody, for the treatment of patients with inflammatory diseases, including IBD. The goal is to offer a practical, less invasive and less expensive alternative to the subcutaneous injections currently used, with equal or even improved efficacy.

“We are delighted to work with Ciloa and Intract Pharma on this pioneering project in the oral delivery of monoclonal antibodies, as recognized by the European Union. Combined with the intrinsic benefits of our technological platform, it will make these essential medicines even more accessible, especially for low- and middle- income countries which are currently deprived of them,” said Bertrand Merot, CEO and founder of Bio-Sourcing.

AB-BIOBETTER aims to meet this challenge by combining cutting-edge technologies from Bio-Sourcing, Ciloa and Intract Pharma. Bio-Sourcing’s BioMilk™ platform enables the production of an adalimumab biobetter – a new and improved version of existing biologics – in industrial quantities. It should cost ten times less than conventional monoclonal antibodies. The generation of antibodies formulated in milk-derived extracellular vesicles could potentially be better suited to oral delivery. Thus, Bio-Sourcing’s platform offers competitive and disruptive advantages for antibody therapeutics.

Ciloa brings to the project its expertise in extracellular vesicle bioengineering, which will enable accurate and effective oral administration of the drug. Intract Pharma will contribute with its precision gut delivery and antibody stabilization technologies, allowing for the oral delivery of biotherapeutics.

“I often say that what can be imagined with proteins and extracellular vehicles can be realized and this is one of those opportunities,” said Robert Mamoun, CEO and co-founder of Ciloa. “We look forward to working with our partners to bring this innovative treatment to market and improve the lives of patients living with chronic inflammatory diseases. The success of this endeavor will represent a breakthrough in the oral formulation of biotherapeutics.”

‘’We are excited to be part of this innovative project to evaluate the potential of milk-derived extracellular vesicles for the oral delivery of antibody therapeutics, which remains the holy grail in biotherapeutics delivery. The deployment of each platform and our combined expertise will allow us to double down on the goal of making antibody therapeutics available in pill form. This would transform the current patient treatment paradigm in chronic inflammatory and immune-mediated diseases,” said Vipul Yadav, CEO of Intract Pharma.

The three-year long project aims to preclinically validate the product and the platform, and to bring the product up to the IND-enabling studies stage.

Eurostars is a part of the Horizon Europe program that supports innovative SMEs and project partners (universities, research organizations and others) by funding international collaborative R&D and innovation projects. Eurostars is run by EUREKA, an intergovernmental network involving 37 countries.

About Ciloa

Ciloa is a French preclinical stage biotechnology company and pioneer in the field of extracellular vesicle bioengineering (EV). The company aims to create new generations of EV-based biotherapies and vaccines. Its proprietary technology allows the in vivo editing by cells of EV, with all types of proteins targeted to the membrane and/or in the lumen.

Ciloa has world-class expertise and proprietary processes enabling high-yield production of high-purity and stable EV. Its quality control processes guarantee characterization of EV according to the ‘state of the art’. Thanks to its process and its clean room facility, Ciloa produces GMP-like EV for regulatory preclinical studies.

About Intract Pharma

Intract Pharma is developing disruptive oral antibody delivery solutions to significantly improve the efficacy and safety of emerging and established protein therapeutics, as well as improve patient experience and outcomes in inflammation and immunology indications. Its platform leverages the advantage of precision targeting of large proteins and antibodies to the colon, while also protecting the biologics from enzymatic breakdown, allowing tissue/systemic uptake to create next-generation oral antibody medicines.

About Bio-Sourcing

Bio-Sourcing is a biotechnology company that has developed a unique, sustainable and profitable platform to produce a new generation of biotherapeutics; in particular, monoclonal antibodies. Its technology platform is based on the production of biotherapeutics in goat milk using genome editing and nuclear transfer technologies.