Crohn’s disease still lacks curative treatment. Yet, there are over a dozen existing treatments for Crohn’s disease, mainly immunosuppressors aiming at lowering the immune system response, and with it the inflammation, but with very serious unwanted consequences when administered on a long-term basis (increased cancer and infection risks). Drugs mainly aim at reducing symptoms during flares, artificially inducing remission. Such a remission does not last for long unfortunately, resulting in patients living in the fear of the next (and often more severe than the previous) flare. To this day, clinicians are still trying to discover an adequate therapy to maintain Crohn’s disease patients in remission for long periods of time without putting at risk their safety. This unmet medical need and the level of expectations from patients and physicians is particularly visible in the vitality of current research in this field. Indeed, 79 ongoing phase 2 or 3 clinical trials in Crohn's disease are registered on clinicaltrial.gov.
Rather than lowering the patients’ immune defenses with another immunosuppressive treatment, our approach is to improve the communication between the patient’s microbiome and their immune system, without inhibiting it. To do so, we will simply release a key naturally occurring gut bacterium, dominant in healthy subjects’ microbiomes, in the gut of patients. We believe that the F. prau strain that will be administered through EXL01 will send anti-inflammatory signals to the immune system sufficient to counterbalance the pro-inflammatory signals it receives from an unbalanced microbiome, thus stopping the vicious circle that leads to uncontrolled inflammation.