Allero Therapeutics, based in Rotterdam, was founded in 2016 by Emil Pot, Federico Grego, Kees Leenhouts, and Poul Sørensen. Allero’s mission is to improve the quality of life for patients with immune-mediated disorders. It does so with its Specific OroMucosal ImmunoTherapy (SOMIT) technology, which is designed to treat Celiac Disease (CD). The project to battle food-related immune disorders started this September.
What is the project about?
CD is an autoimmune intestinal disease triggered by the ingestion of the gluten protein gliadin, a component of wheat, barley, and rye. When exposed, the small intestine of CD patients gets damaged, causing diarrhea, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. If untreated, CD can lead to life-threatening conditions such as lymphoma, intestinal carcinoma, osteoporosis, and spleen atrophy
Treatments of immune disorders are often insufficient since they do not treat the underlying causes but merely combat the symptoms. Therapies can also often cause significant side effects. Allero Therapeutics aims to provide a cure for patients suffering from these diseases by restoring immune tolerance with a short-course treatment.
“Some 7.4 million people in the EU suffer from CD and the only available treatment is a lifelong adherence to a gluten-free diet,” says Kees Leenhouts, COO and CTO at Allero Therapeutics. “We have developed SOMIT-CD, a non-invasive oral patch which is applied to deliver the disease-causing antigen and a tolerizing bacterial particle (TBP) to the dendritic APCs in the oral mucosa. The approach defines a platform technology that is applicable to a range of clinical indications. This platform holds the promise to develop short-course treatments (10 weeks or less) to treat CD and other (auto)immune disorders.”
How did FFUND help?
FFUND helped Allero Therapeutics to apply for the EIC Horizon grant. Leenhouts: “FFUND’s input was pivotal in optimizing our proposal, as their knowledge on how to address key elements of the business case was essential to the awarding of the grant.”
Lorina Gjonaj, Team manager at FFUND: “ The fun part our job is to work closely with the Allero team in telling their story and make SOMIT a real success.”
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For more information about the EIC Accelerator program, go to https://eic.ec.europa.eu/index_en