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PureTech’s Alivio Debuts With Drug-Delivery Gel for Inflammation

Xconomy Boston — 

Biotech company creator PureTech Health is celebrating Mother’s Day with twins. Hours after announcing its newest spinout, a cell therapy-focused startup, the company says it is launching Alivio Therapeutics to develop a therapy for chronic and acute inflammation.

Alivio has a hydrogel material that it said is designed to adhere to inflamed tissue and deliver drugs based on the level of inflammation. The worse the inflammation, the more drug is released into the tissue. In a statement, the company said it hopes its product will allow doctors to manage inflammation—which occurs as part of dozens of diseases—with greater precision and control than current options, such as systemic steroids and immunosuppression.

The news comes after PureTech announced yesterday the formation of Vor BioPharma, which is focusing on “CAR-T” therapy, a type of cell therapy for cancer that has shown some impressive early results against certain blood cancers, as Xconomy’s Ben Fidler reported. Vor was founded by Columbia University professor and author Siddhartha Mukherjee, and has other prominent scientific advisors.

Alivio has well-known co-founders and board members in its own right. MIT professor Robert Langer jointly developed the technology and co-founded the company with Jeff Karp, an associate professor of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. Scientists Michael Brenner, Ulrich von Andrian, and Ralph Weissleder—all affiliated with Harvard Medical School—are on the company’s scientific advisory board. Ivana Magovcevic-Liebisch, the senior vice president and head of global business development at Teva Pharmaceuticals, is on the company’s board of directors.

Alivio is the third company that PureTech has formed this year. As Fidler reported in March, PureTech unveiled Commense, which aims to build on research into the human microbiome—the trillions of bacteria and other microbes that live in and on our bodies—to potentially protect babies born via C-section from the future onset of a variety of serious conditions.

PureTech did not disclose whether it would target a specific disease-related inflammation first. The company has already done testing in animal models and been published in peer-reviewed journals. In Science Translational Medicine, Langer, Karp, and others described using the gel in a mouse model of ulcerative colitis, a bowel disease that can cause inflammation in the digestive tract.