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Ardelyx Inc.

Modulating mineral absorption to treat GI disorders

This article was originally published in Start Up

Executive Summary

Ardelyx Inc. is designing drugs to interact with specific proteins that are found in the intestinal lining and control mineral transport. The company’s most advanced candidate, RDX5791, is meant to block sodium by selectively inhibiting NHE3, a sodium transporter on the surface of the intestinal lining. Preventing sodium absorption may increase the amount of fluid in the lumen of the gut, thus Ardelyx is developing RDX5791 as a treatment for irritable bowel syndrome with constipation.

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AltheRx Pharmaceuticals Inc.

AltheRx Pharmaceuticals Inc. acquired its lead compound, solabegron, from GlaxoSmithKline in March 2011. Solabegron relaxes smooth muscles by stimulating beta-3 adrenoceptors, a novel mechanism compared with currently available treatments for overactive bladder and irritable bowel syndrome, the first two indications that AltheRx is targeting.

Altheus Therapeutics Inc.

If you can’t beat them, join them. Looks like the backers of Altheus Therapeutics Inc. see sound business sense in this homily: the start-up is working to create a potent new treatment for ulcerative colitis by combining N-acetylcysteine, an anti-inflammatory compound, with the aspirin derivative mesalamine, which for decades has been the front-line therapy for the condition.

Second Genome Inc.

Second Genome Inc. intends to leverage new understandings arising from research into the human microbiome about how microorganisms influence human disease and health. The start-up anticipates that its microbiome discovery platform will expose many possibilities for diagnosis and treatment of disease not previously connected with bacteria. Initially the start-up is intent on establishing that its methods can classify patients with irritable bowel syndrome and guide their treatment.

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