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Progenity picks up Medimetrics assets
09-19-2019
by Mel J. Yeates  |  Email the author
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SAN DIEGO—Progenity, Inc. has acquired assets of ingestible device company Medimetrics GmbH. This further strengthens Progenity’s existing intellectual property portfolio and positions the company at the forefront of developing ingestible devices designed to advance research, diagnosis and treatment for conditions of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
 
“With the acquisition of Medimetrics’ assets, Progenity now holds one of the most robust ingestible device patent estates,” said Harry Stylli, Ph.D., CEO, chairman of the board and co-founder of Progenity. “The synergy of Medimetrics’ technology with our own should allow us to greatly advance development and commercialization of our pipeline of ingestible technologies and therapeutics. Our aim is to improve understanding, diagnosis, and treatment of gastrointestinal diseases, ultimately enabling precision medicine.”
 
The agreement includes the purchase of Medimetrics’ patent portfolio for ingestible device technologies, which consists of 137 granted patents and 15 pending applications in the U.S., Europe, China and Japan. Together with existing patents, Progenity’s ingestible device intellectual property portfolio now encompasses a broad range of technological advances. These include autonomous self-localization, sample collection and preservation from pre-selected GI locations, and targeted therapeutic delivery to the GI tract for topical and systemic applications. Progenity’s total patent portfolio now includes 200 granted patents and 216 pending applications across the company’s diagnostic and therapeutic platforms.
 
“Medimetrics’ expertise in device development and system engineering set the stage for ingestible drug delivery and sampling, even garnering CE marks for several products for clinical and commercial use. We are continuing to demonstrate the potential of ingestible technologies to improve the overall standard of care for gastrointestinal health,” added Jeff Shimizu, director of device development at Progenity and former chief technology officer at Medimetrics.
 
Diagnosis and treatment of GI conditions such as small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) remains difficult due to costly, invasive procedures and limited therapeutic options. Progenity is developing ingestible technologies and therapeutics designed to diagnose and treat at the site of disease in the GI tract. The company’s systems have the potential to offer clinicians a noninvasive option for diagnosing, treating and monitoring GI disease.
 
In May, Progenity also announced results from three studies. Proof-of-concept studies in both human and preclinical models showed Progenity’s ingestible diagnostic capsule platform is capable of autonomous location-based sampling, biomolecular analysis and real-time wireless communications for assessing and monitoring gastrointestinal health.

Data from two preclinical proof-of-concept studies looking at direct topical delivery of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) to the lining of the gut versus systemic administration with an injection demonstrate the potential for improved efficacy and safety in the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The data from these studies were presented at Digestive Disease Week 2019 in San Diego.

“In our continued efforts to make healthcare more precise and personal, we are developing potentially the first platform technology capable of functioning as an ingestible digital fluorometric laboratory with a range of possible assays for gastrointestinal, metabolic, and microbial disorders,” noted Harry Stylli in a press release.

Progenity presented results of a study evaluating the function of a system that includes an autonomous, swallowable diagnostic capsule for in situ biomolecular detection. As a proof of concept, this system has been designed to aid in the diagnosis and monitoring of SIBO.

The system has three components: a capsule, a wearable receiver and analysis software. The capsule is a single-use device swallowed by the patient. The capsule determines its location in the digestive tract, collects a sample, and performs an onboard assay to measure bacterial load. The results of the assay are wirelessly communicated from the wearable receiver to the software for review by the healthcare provider.

Progenity’s diagnostic capsule system represents the potential for a powerful new tool to aid in the diagnosis of SIBO, with the sensitivity and reproducibility of the aspirate and culture method combined with the noninvasive nature of breath testing. The system has undergone a series of validation and verification tests including full Clinical Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI) verification of the assay and a clinical evaluation of the localization algorithm. The assay and call algorithm continue to be evaluated ex vivo in an ongoing prospective human clinical trial.

“These platform technologies are intended to directly address challenges clinicians face in diagnosing gastrointestinal disorders and treating patients with therapies that can result in low response rates and high toxicity. Our proof-of-concept studies demonstrate great promise that these technologies can be used in a variety of applications to greatly improve the ability of clinicians to diagnose, treat, and monitor digestive diseases,” stated Stylli. “Progenity is also developing and manufacturing its own pipeline of drugs with established efficacy and safety profiles in IBD. We believe our proprietary platform will help improve the therapeutic safety and efficacy of currently available therapies and their combinations for the treatment of IBD and other diseases.”

Two posters presented by Progenity hypothesize that improved response can be achieved via direct topical delivery of mAbs to the site of disease by providing concentrations sufficient to drive improved efficacy while reducing the systemic toxicity often associated with these agents. The posters describe results from comparative studies in which mouse models of induced chronic colitis were administered mAbs with either a systemic injection into the body cavity (intraperitoneal – IP) or direct topical application to the lining of the large intestine through a surgical portal (intracecal – IC).

Results showed direct topical (IC) administration was more efficacious when compared to systemic (IP) delivery of anti-TNFα antibody and anti-∝4β7 antibody in mouse models of acute colitis. Taken together, these findings provide a proof of concept for direct topical delivery of therapeutic antibodies and suggest the potential for improved efficacy in the treatment of IBD.
 
Code: E09191901

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