Diseases in which inflammation has an important role include gastrointestinal disorders such as Crohn’s disease, musculoskeletal conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and skin disorders such as psoriasis. Targeting key inflammatory mediators such as tumor necrosis factor has proved to be a successful broad approach for treating such diseases. To address unmet medical needs in the area, companies are continuing to search for ways to target other mediators, such as Janus kinases and vascular adhesion protein 1, as well as exploring new types of interventions for particular diseases,such as cell therapies and microbiome-based therapies. This is illustrated by recent deal activity in the inflammation area overall (Table 1) and for gastrointestinal diseases specifically (Table 2).
Recent activity in gastrointestinal dealmaking
Focusing on inflammatory gastrointestinal disorders specifically, the number of deals in the area over the past four years is shown in Fig. 1, and a selection of the gastrointestinal deals in 2015 and 2016 are listed in Table 2. The deals illustrate growing interest from a number of companies in exploring therapeutic strategies targeting the human microbiome, catalyzed by advances in the understanding of links between the gut microbiota and specific gastrointestinal disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease. As highlighted in the feature in our September 2015 issue (Manipulating the human microbiome to fight inflammatory disorders), 2014 was a particularly active year for partnerships involving the microbiome, and in 2015 Seventure Partners established a $130 million fund, Health for Life Capital, dedicated entirely to microbiome-based innovations. In January this year, Ferring Pharmaceuticals partnered with the Karolinska Institute to launch a microbiome research center, and Takeda partnered with Enterome to develop microbiome-based therapies (Table 2).