Trino Therapeutics raises €9m to develop novel drug for inflammatory bowel diseases

The Wellcome Trust has awarded a Strategic Translation Award to Trino Therapeutics to take forward a programme to develop a first-in-class drug for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease.

Combined with additional investment from Fountain Healthcare Partners, this takes the total raised by Trino to more than €9 million in this initial financing round.

Dublin-based Trino is developing PH46A, the lead candidate from a new class of experimental drugs that was inspired by a molecule derived from a Taiwanese fern historically used in plant-based medicine. PH46A is a potential first-in-class oral small-molecule drug for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which could be used in both ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease.

Trino previously received Wellcome Trust support to validate its proprietary chemical series in appropriate models of IBD.

Dr Richard Seabrook, Head of Business Development at the Wellcome Trust, said: "Current treatments for inflammatory bowel diseases often have significant side-effects and patients are faced with tough decisions in how to manage their condition. We are pleased to extend our successful partnership with Trino to support the development of PH46A as a potential new therapy for these debilitating disorders."

Other molecules in Trino's drug class show promise with broad anti-inflammatory activity that could be suitable for applications in dermatology, pulmonary disease and auto-immune disease, and the company will work to develop these compounds internally and in partnership with major international research centres.

Professor Neil Frankish, who co-founded Trino Therapeutics with medicinal chemist Professor Helen Sheridan, said: "This significant investment validates our research, enabling us to expand the Trino team and develop our clinical partnerships so that we can investigate the effectiveness of our research where it is needed – in patients with inflammatory diseases and ineffective drugs."

Initial funding of €2.2 million from this syndicate was used to complete manufacture and preclinical testing of the experimental drug to clinical standards. The additional €7m investment will be used to bring the drug through phase I clinical safety studies in healthy volunteers, to identify the international clinical investigator network to run the patient studies and to complete initial phase II testing of PH46A in mild to moderate ulcerative colitis.