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Blacksburg company working on new treatment for Crohn's Disease

Blacksburg's Landos Biopharma is working on a new treatment for Crohn's Disease and ulcerative colitis. (Photo: Annie Andersen)

BLACKSBURG, Va. (WSET) -- For the 1.6 million Americans with inflammatory bowel disease, including Crohn's Disease and ulcerative colitis, every day is a challenge.

Patients can suffer with inflammation anywhere along the GI tract, but often it develops in the small intestine.

But soon, things could get easier for them.

Virginia Tech student, recent grads and researchers work side by side at Landos Biopharma, trying to develop a pill that will help people living with Crohn's Disease and ulcerative colitis.

The main product on the market now is an injection, one with major side effects.

"The current drugs that are being used to treat Crohn's Disease cost each patient about 55 thousand dollars per year. The side effects that are listed on the bottle include cancer, infection and death, and they work in about 30 percent of patients. We can do better," said Landos Biopharma founder Josep Bassaganya-Riera.

The goal with the product they are developing? Give patients the perks with none of the side effects.

A life sciences management firm gave Landos Biopharma $10 million in funding to help bring its first product into clinical trials.

Lab assistant and Virginia Tech student Lauren Moon has an uncle with Crohn's Disease and hopes her work will help him and others. "It's hard to live with diseases like that. I think they definitely are always looking for new treatments just to make living normal lives easier," empathized Moon.

The new medicine would reduce the inflammatory response and increase anti-inflammatory activity in the gut.

This research is still in its very early stages. It's not expected to hit the market until 2024.

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