Pennsylvania Patent of the Month – May 2021

Squalamine is a naturally occurring aminosterol which is most abundantly found in the spiny dogfish, a species of shark. Studies on squalamine have shown it has potent antibacterial activity. Further studies showed it could be used in cancer, macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy treatments. Enterin, Inc. has taken this compound and found yet another application: preventing and treating gastrointestinal motility disorders.

They formulated an orally administered treatment using squalamine as the active ingredient. Their research with the compound found that an oral administration stimulates a sequence of events throughout the GI tract which leads to “small intestinal quieting” and then the passing of a normally formed bowel movement. Based on this sequence of events, an appropriate dose could be used to treat constipation, IBS, and other GI motility disorders. They expect it could even help in treatment and prevention of diabetes. The delayed transit of food through the small intestine would reduce the rate of nutrient absorption and also reduce stress on the endocrine pancreas. Beyond this, they think it could further offer benefits to neurodegenerative diseases. Squalamine’s impact on enteric neurons and their communication with immune cells within the lamina propria could have positive impacts on treatment of disorders such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s. 

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