IBIO-CFB03 is a novel plant-derived peptide developed by biotech company iBIO Inc. It is being developed on a large scale to be used in clinical trials on human patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). A unique feature of IBIO-CFB03 is that the protein will be grown in plants instead of being genetically engineered or cloned in animal models, as is the case with most other peptides.
History of IBIO-CFB03
The idea to use plant-grown proteins was conceptualized in 2012 by Dr. Carol Feghali-Bostwick at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), who collaborated with iBIO Inc. and created iBIO-CFB03, which is an endostatin-derived peptide (a kind of plant protein similar to collagen) that reduces rates of fibrosis in lung tissues — the pathophysiology behind development of IPF.
Feghali-Bostwick’s concept was to use this type of peptide to treat diseases like pulmonary fibrosis, scleroderma, and systemic sclerosis. After publishing data showing inhibition of fibrosis in mouse models and reversal of conditions leading to fibrosis, iBIO partnered with her to develop the drug for clinical trials. In late 2014, a new drug application was filed with the U.S. FDA for IBIO-CFB03 as a potential therapy for IPF. In addition, iBIO holds licenses for all patents held by Feghali-Bostwick for therapeutics in fibrotic diseases.
How IBIO-CFB03 Works
The main mode of action of IBIO-CFB03 involves inhibition of angiogenesis (formation of new blood vessels), which eventually stop growth, differentiation, and proliferation of fibroblasts and similar cells that lead to fibrosis. Rather than simply treating the symptoms associated with IPF, IBIO-CFB03 works toward limiting and mitigating the progression of the disease itself.
Next Steps for IBIO-CFB03
In April 2015, iBIO partnered with Caliber Biotherapeutics, a plant-made pharmaceutical protein manufacturing facility, to scale up production of IBIO-CFB03 to be tested in healthy volunteers for safety, and in IPF patients for efficacy and tolerance. The product, if approved, would be manufactured via the company’s iBioLaunch gene expression platform, a transformative technology for development and production of biologics using transient gene expression in unmodified green plants.
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