Progenity gets IBD Ventures Fund support for drug delivery tech

Progenity has secured funding from the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation’s IBD Ventures Fund for use in the development of a drug delivery system for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

San Diego-based Progenity’s move into drug delivery has begun to gather pace this year, with news of the funding following the start of a phase 1 clinical trial and a deal with Ionis Pharmaceuticals. The activity is underpinned by a capsule designed to deliver bolus doses of therapeutic compounds to a targeted part of the gastrointestinal tract, thereby avoiding the side effects of systemic delivery.

IBD Ventures Fund has seen enough promise in the technology to agree to support development and clinical studies of the drug delivery system. In a statement, the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation’s chief scientific officer Caren Heller, M.D., said the “innovative technology” is aligned with the nonprofit’s “mission to improve the quality of life for the millions of Americans living with IBD.”

Exactly what support Progenity is receiving from IBD Ventures Fund remains under wraps. Progenity is yet to share details of how much money IBD Ventures Fund will provide and over what time frame, although it has spoken qualitatively about the nature of the agreement. 

“This is a cost sharing arrangement, so it will not necessarily show as revenue. It's more of a joint spending on the studies that are targeted by the program. So, it's not overly critical in terms of the dollar, what matters is really the studies that it supports,” Eric d’Esparbes, chief financial officer at Progenity, said on the company’s first-quarter results conference call with investors.

Progenity shared news of the funding the day before releasing findings from the first clinical trial of its delivery system. The company said the initial analysis of the study suggests “the majority of [the] devices functioned as intended and could accurately identify entry into the colon, trigger release of a liquid payload and achieve pan-colon distribution.”