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Hofseth BioCare signs research agreement with US university. Hofseth BioCare ASA (HBC) has signed a two-year research agreement with Stanford University School of Medicine, CA, USA to further investigate the gastro-intestinal (GI)-protective properties of HBC’s Salmon Protein Hydrolysate Peptides (“SPH”) in children and adults with GI tract disorders.

The research agreement follows recent findings of SPH’s reduction of GI injury in both in vitro and in vivo pre-clinical models that reflect the underlying disease process of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) and ulcerative colitis / inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

The focus of the research collaboration is to further elucidate how SPH reduces or prevents intestinal inflammation in preclinical models of NEC and IBD and thereby helps to restore GI barrier function. In the second year of the project, it is anticipated that this work may form the basis for proceeding to a pilot study to assess SPH as an adjunctive treatment for the maintenance of remission in human subjects with mild to moderate ulcerative colitis.

Prior research undertaken by HBC and Stanford has demonstrated that gene systems that protect the GI tract against oxidative stress and inflammation are upregulated in human GI cells exposed to SPH. In proprietary animal models of GI inflammation, Stanford’s work has shown SPH to markedly reduce gut inflammation. Oxidative stress is implicated as an important underlying driver of many digestive diseases, including NEC and IBD.

IBD is a chronic disease that can affect both physical health and quality of life (QoL). Symptoms include crampy abdominal pain, diarrhoea and weight loss. Ongoing blood loss from the bowel can result in anaemia further exacerbating the impact on QoL with anaemia symptoms including fatigue and reduced exercise capacity. Long term effects of bowel inflammation include an increased risk of colon cancer.

There are more than 70,000 new cases of IBD diagnosed each year in the US alone. Steroids and biologic therapies are commonly used treatments. Whilst these can provide significant benefit and are generally well tolerated, they are associated with side effects such as osteoporosis and diabetes with long term steroid use and serious infection with biologic therapy. Furthermore, a significant number of patients do not attain full remission and continue to suffer from the effects of IBD. There is therefore a clear need for further, well tolerated treatments which can help to attain and maintain remission for these patients.