Professor Caitriona O’Driscoll of University College Cork (UCC) has successfully secured EU funding under Horizon Europe as coordinator of GENEGUT: a project on oral delivery of encapsulated RNA nanotherapeutics for targeted treatment of ileal Crohn’s disease.
Bringing together renowned researchers, expert clinical scientists, SMEs and larger pharmaceutical companies, and a patient organisation, the GENEGUT project aims to transform treatment of ileal Crohn’s disease by developing a first-in-class oral RNA-based therapy, tackling inflammation locally in the intestinal tissue, while avoiding systemic side effects.
Delivery of RNA will be enabled by a combination approach where novel biomaterials, including amphiphilic cyclodextrins and amino polyesters (both patented by partners), designed to overcome the barriers in the gastrointestinal tract, will complex the RNA within nanoparticles. The project will result in an oral RNA therapeutic ready for early clinical trial including coherent plans for clinical trials and regulatory submission, thus enabling rapid availability for patients.
Professor O’Driscoll, who is Professor and Chair of Pharmaceutics in the School of Pharmacy, UCC, and was previously a project partner under the EU Framework Programme 7 in the NMP programme on oral nanomedicines, says: “GENEGUT will reinforce, and extend, the expertise in non-viral delivery of RNA therapeutics within UCC and will position Ireland at the forefront of this technology.”
The project has nine partners in total from eight countries: Ireland, France, UK, Portugal, Sweden, Hungary, Switzerland, and Belgium. It will bring €2.2 million of Horizon Europe funding to Ireland, from a total funding allocation of €4.6 million for this project.
Submitted by Kay Duggan-Walls