Jecure Therapeutics' objective is to identify novel drugs for the treatment of fatty liver disease and liver fibrosis.
Area of focus: Inflammation and Immunology
Commencement Date: May, 2016
Graduation Date: May, 2017
Location: JLABS @ San Diego
As soon as 2020, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, or simply NASH, is expected to become the leading cause of liver transplants in the US. NASH is a serious condition that often progresses to liver fibrosis, a more serious condition that is also associated with increased risk of coronary heart disease. An estimated 16 million Americans are afflicted with NASH yet don't even know it, owing to the asymptomatic nature of early disease and the requirement for an invasive liver biopsy for diagnosis. There are currently no approved therapies for NASH, and treatment is centered on lifestyle management including weight reduction, healthy diet, and increased physical activity. Considerable advancements have been made in the past several years to identify pharmaceutical treatment options for NASH patients, and the path to regulatory approval of effective therapies has become clearer. Dozens of clinical trials have been initiated, often with repurposed drugs, yet there remains a need for the development of novel therapies that address the fundamental disease biology and drivers of disease progression. Jecure Therapeutics is dedicated to the discovery and development of these first-in-class therapies to improve the lives of NASH patients.
Current clinical trials have been primarily aimed at mechanisms involved in metabolic regulation, lipogenesis, and other elements of the metabolic syndrome. It is increasingly evident that inflammation plays a central role in the progression of NASH, and targeting inflammatory signaling pathways is a rational approach for the treatment of patients with early and progressive NASH. Jecure's academic founder, Dr. Ariel Feldstein, has been studying for several years the role of the NLRP3 inflammasome in NASH and liver fibrosis. The NLRP3 inflammasome is a multi-protein cellular complex that responds to various extracellular and intracellular toxins to mediate the processing and secretion of the pro-inflammatory cytokine IL-1 beta. When this process becomes unregulated, as it does in NASH, liver injury can occur. Published work from Dr. Feldstein's UCSD labs has shown that aberrant activation of the NLRP3 inflammasome is a central driver of progressive NASH. Jecure Therapeutics is developing drug therapies to inhibit the aberrant activity of the NLRP3 inflammasome and treat NASH and other diseases mediated by the over production of IL-1 beta.
First and foremost, Jecure scientists have a shared passion to discover and advance novel therapies into the clinic, especially ones that address important medical problems like NASH and liver fibrosis. To accomplish this, Jecure has assembled a dedicated, world-class team that combines the expertise of accomplished pharmaceutical scientists with the deep understanding of disease biology provided by leading academic investigators. With these elements in place, Jecure is positioned to meet its goal of translating basic biology research into novel medicines that improve patients’ lives.
With its pre-built infrastructure ranging from labs to offices to instruments to conference rooms, JLABS truly represents a plug-and-play setting for aspiring life science entrepreneurs and small companies. Without bearing costly start-up expenses that can accompany a typical lab set-up, Jecure was able to conduct proof-of-concept experiments in a timeframe that would be hard to imagine if the company had to establish independent lab space elsewhere. In addition, there is a certain "esprit de corps" among the resident companies that contributes to an overall can-do attitude, which is helpful in the inherently stressful and often low-capital start-up environment.
Meet the Team: