Hitchhiker's guide to the gut

How AMT is making oral biologics

Applied Molecular Transport LLC (AMT) believes it has cracked the problem of orally delivering therapeutic proteins that has been the bane of biologics from the outset. The company has co-opted a strategy and a molecule used by bacteria that infect the gut to create a platform that shuttles proteins across the intestinal epithelium and delivers them to cells deep inside the gut or in the liver.

The gut epithelium has thwarted efforts to orally administer biologics because proteins can't diffuse across the barrier or sneak through the tight junctions, and when they are taken up by endocytosis - the only route left to them - they are typically degraded in lysosomes rather than transported into the body.

The most common solution is to use systemic administration, but that often translates into higher doses and more side effects than would take place if compounds could be selectively delivered to target cells, according to AMT CEO Tahir Mahmood.

Mahmood told BioCentury the company has developed a bacteria-derived carrier system that

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