Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Targeting FXR represents a novel approach to treating inflammatory bowel disease. We plan to develop our FXR product candidate, MET642, as a potential first-in-class treatment for IBD, including ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn’s disease. Patients with IBD can suffer from abdominal pain and bloody diarrhea and have increased risk of colorectal cancer. The global incidence of IBD is increasing and, as of 2021, there were more than 3 million people in the United States with IBD. Injectable biologics are commonly used to treat patients with moderate-to-severe IBD, and while these biologic agents can be effective initially, they increase the risk of infections and can be challenging to administer.
The rationale for FXR-based therapies in IBD holds great promise and is anchored on the potential to address multiple aspects of IBD pathogenesis without the immunosuppression inherent to other advanced-line therapies. FXR is highly expressed by intestinal epithelial cells and plays a key role in healthy intestinal function by maintaining the epithelial barrier, reducing bacterial translocation into the intestinal wall and regulating the innate immune response. FXR therapy could potentially change the IBD treatment paradigm by bringing an oral, once-daily, well-tolerated and non-immunosuppressive medicine to patients. New approaches are needed that expand therapeutic options for people living with IBD.