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Alvine Pharmaceuticals Inc.

This article was originally published in Start Up

Executive Summary

Alvine Pharmaceuticals aims to treat celiac disease-a common hereditary autoimmune disorder in which the intestinal lining reacts to wheat, barley or rye gluten, leading to pain, bloating, and damage to the gut--with an orally available drug meant to degrade gluten in the stomach into peptide fragments too small to stimulate an immune response. Generally, antigens need to be at least nine amino acids long to rouse an immune response, but Alvine expects its lead compound to chop up gluten into peptide fragments a third that size or smaller.

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A number of diseases are associated with or influenced by imbalances in gut bacteria, including autism and GI disorders such as ulcers, Crohn's disease, inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, colon cancer, and necrotizing enterocolitis in preterm infants. Many other conditions not obviously associated with the gastrointestinal tract also seem to be influenced by imbalance in the gut, such as allergies, eczema, depression and obesity. Genetic Analysis is developing the G-MAP, a microbiota array technology that analyzes and profiles the gut microflora and associates the resulting profile with various diseases.

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