Startup Targeting Food Allergies Raises More Funds


ClostraBio, which has yet to generate revenue, is developing an oral drug that delivers drugs to the lower intestine, where it can help repair the gut barrier and prevent symptoms associated with food allergies or other illnesses. intestinal diseases such as ulcerative colitis. Brett Newswanger, the startup’s chief operating officer, says the drug is a daily drinkable powder.

The startup, developed by University of Chicago’s Cathryn Nagler and Jeffrey Hubbell, has focused on treating peanut allergies, but Newswanger said he expects the therapy to treat a range of allergies. food.

“The advantage of our technology is that because it treats the gut barrier itself, it doesn’t matter what food allergen is involved,” says Newswanger. “Whether it’s peanut protein, shellfish protein, or milk protein, in theory, we could help all of these patients.”

ClostraBio’s potential to treat a range of allergens and intestinal issues is what made it an attractive investment for Portal Innovations, said President Patrick Flavin.

The new funding will allow ClostraBio to complete its animal trials and possibly initiate human clinical trials, Newswanger said. The funding will also be used to hire scientists specializing in drug development. The startup currently has only six employees.

Prior to joining the company, Newswanger was a senior director at Xeris Pharmaceuticals, a pharmaceutical company that moved to Chicago from San Diego in 2020.

“As (Xeris) grew, it got a little too big for me and I really wanted to get back to the early stage, and build businesses and building products,” says Newswanger, who joined ClostraBio l ‘last year.

Portal Innovations, which grew out of Fulton Market, now has 20 life science startups working in its two lab buildings. Totaling nearly 50,000 square feet across the two sites, Portal Innovations offers its members financing, as well as wet and dry labs, in exchange for equity.


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