Grant from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will advance Ventria’s capabilities for production of novel therapeutic proteins
Junction City, Kansas — October 23, 2017 — Ventria Bioscience Inc. today announced a $4.2 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to fund development of efficient biomanufacturing for new therapeutics targeting Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (or ETEC), a leading bacterial cause of diarrhea in the developing world. ETEC accounts for an estimated 280 million to 400 million cases of diarrhea a year in children under five and an estimated 157,000 deaths per year. The bacterial infection also is implicated in travelers’ diarrhea.
Funding by the Gates Foundation will enable Ventria to develop its platform to produce potential ETEC treatments using Ventria’s cost-effective, scalable and safe ExpressTec technology.
“We are very pleased to receive this funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to fight ETEC diarrheal disease, which causes widespread misery, especially among young children in lower-income countries. This initiative aims to develop a new kind of oral treatment that could be delivered economically on a large scale for use in children or adults,” said Scott E. Deeter, President and Chief Executive Officer of Ventria. “We have proven the effectiveness of our ExpressTec system for biomanufacturing synthetic colostrum proteins, such as lactoferrin and lysozyme. This new application in the global fight against ETEC adds to Ventria’s pipeline of projects with the potential to make a real difference in people’s health.”
Seymour Fein, M.D., Chief Medical Officer of Ventria, added: “The burden of gastrointestinal and diarrheal diseases in the developing world is devastating, causing hundreds of millions of people to suffer, taking the lives of the least fortunate, and draining the resources of caregivers in Africa, Asia and Latin America. ETEC infection cries out for an effective treatment that can be delivered on a large scale in areas struggling with poverty, and the Gates Foundation initiative brings hope to patients and societies afflicted by this disease. Ventria’s expertise in producing safe, high-quality proteins adds an important component to this global public health effort.”