MELBOURNE, Australia, July 20, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Australian microbiome biopharmaceutical company, Immuron Limited (ASX:IMC) (OTCQB:IMROY), today announced it has formed a strategic partnership with three leading Australian Research Institutes to understand how the genetic basis underlying Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) relates to changes to the gut, and how Immuron’s anti-LPS IMM-124E compound affects changes in mouse models for autism. This understanding will provide information on how alterations in the gut microbiome occur and potentially identify targets for the development of clinical therapies to restore gut balance and improve the quality of life for ASD patients.
This cutting-edge Industry / Academic collaboration is made up of a cross functional disciplinary scientific team with the capabilities to investigate the brain, the gut and the microbes, and also to translate this research into meaningful patient outcomes. The members of the scientific team are Dr. Elisa Hill (University of Melbourne: Neuroscientist, Gut-Brain axis and Mouse models of Autism), Assoc. Prof. Ashley Franks (La Trobe University: Microbiologist, Microbial communities structures and functions) and Professor Ravi Savarirayan (Murdoch Childrens Research Institute / University of Melbourne: clinical geneticist, paediatrician and translational researcher).
Said Associate Professor Ashley Franks, Microbiologist of La Trobe University and co-principle investigator:
“The scientific research team has recently identified that the microbiota is altered in mutant mouse models compared to their otherwise genetically identical wild type littermates. In order to determine if the fecal microbiota is a potential site for therapies in ASD, we will investigate the structure of the fecal microbiome in wild type and mutant mice, using this understanding to translate into human ASD patient studies.”
The Gastrointestinal (GI) microbiota are well known to influence mood and behaviour. There is growing evidence that gut bacterial communities (i.e. the microbiota) are altered in patients with ASD, however studies in patients have limitations due to the difficulty in controlling environmental factors. The microbiota in the mouse GI tract is similar to that in humans and studying the microbiome in this model enables environmental factors to be controlled.
Commented Dr. Elisa Hill Neuroscientist, The University of Melbourne and co-principle investigator:
“Research of mouse models for autism, where mutations in genes involved in the formation and remodelling of central nervous system synapses, will be extended to closely map the microbes in the gut and provide understanding on how the brain and bacteria interact during development.”
ASD is a behavioural disorder diagnosed by impaired social communication and repetitive behaviours. ASD patients often have gastrointestinal problems including bloating, constipation or diarrhoea. Autism is a large and wide-open pharmaceutical market, with no approved therapeutics and few therapies in development.
Commented Thomas Liquard, CEO of Immuron Limited:
“With growing evidence that the microbiome might play a key role in either the development or worsening of central nervous system (CNS) conditions including autism, Immuron is pleased to partner with leaders in the field to expand the knowledge in this area and test the potential for IMM-124E as a therapeutic agent. The data will also give us insights into the link between the microbiome and autism, allowing Immuron to design other custom therapeutics as needed.”
“Positive data would be an industry first, and the next step would be to conduct Investigator Sponsored human studies. We have already identified a potential patient cohort and we look forward to potentially start human studies in 2017 following the results of this pre-clinical study in mice.”
Immuron Ltd (ASX:IMC) (OTCQB:IMROY) is a microbiome company focused on developing and commercialising oral immunotherapeutics for the treatment of a many gut mediated diseases. Immuron has a unique and safe technology platform that enables a shorter development therapeutic cycle. The Company currently markets and sells Travelan® for the prevention of travellers’ diarrhoea, whilst its lead product candidate IMM-124E is in Phase 2b clinical trials for NASH and ASH. These products together with the Company’s other preclinical immunotherapy pipeline products targeting immune-related diseases currently under development, will meet a large unmet need in the market.
For more information visit: http://www.immuron.com/
Certain statements made in this release are forward-looking statements and are based on Immuron’s current expectations, estimates and projections. Words such as “anticipates,” “expects,” “intends,” “plans,” “believes,” “seeks,” “estimates,” “guidance” and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Although Immuron believes the forward-looking statements are based on reasonable assumptions, they are subject to certain risks and uncertainties, some of which are beyond Immuron’s control, including those risks or uncertainties inherent in the process of both developing and commercialising technology. As a result, actual results could materially differ from those expressed or forecasted in the forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statements made in this release relate only to events as of the date on which the statements are made. Immuron will not undertake any obligation to release publicly any revisions or updates to these forward-looking statements to reflect events, circumstances or unanticipated events occurring after the date of this release except as required by law or by any appropriate regulatory authority.
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