9:35 AM
 | 
Nov 29, 2017
 |  BioCentury  |  Emerging Company Profile

Gluten-free gut

How PvP’s KumaMax degrades gluten to prevent celiac disease attacks

PvP Biologics Inc. is developing an oral enzyme therapy for celiac disease to break down gluten in the stomach with more specificity than a competing enzyme cocktail. The company’s KumaMax, a synthetic peptidase, should prevent the antigen from reaching the intestine and immune system, where other competitors act.

Patients with celiac disease produce antibodies that attack dietary gluten as it passes through the intestine, causing severe intestinal damage and malnutrition. Even with a strict gluten-free diet -- currently the only way to control the disease -- about 30% of patients remain symptomatic, according to PvP President and CEO Adam Simpson.

“Accidental ingestion of even trace amounts of gluten can result in severe GI symptoms,” he told BioCentury.

Researchers at the University of Washington created KumaMax by modifying the naturally occurring bacterial enzyme kumamolisin-As, which is able to maintain its structure and function at low pH.

KumaMax is more than 800 times more specific than kumamolisin-As for gliadin peptides, the immunogenic components of...

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