Bugs as Drugs? One Biotech Company is Banking on It!

October 10, 2021

Newly Developed Pharmaceutical Hopes to Treat Autism Via Gut Health

Indiana-based Scioto Biosciences Inc. is in a Phase 1B clinical trial with a new therapeutic aiming to treat autism via gut health. Their new product, SB-121, is designed to develop communities of good bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract. These bacteria should exist in most people’s bodies naturally but some people are plagued with low levels, including those with autism. The biotech company is referring to their trial as “bugs as drugs” as they attempt to treat co-morbid gastrointestinal disorders that many individuals with autism experience. The main ingredient of SB-121 is commensal bacteria, a natural bacteria that babies are first exposed to from their mother’s breast milk. The principal purpose of the clinical trial is to evaluate the safety of SB-121. Scioto anticipates that their drug will be proven safe, since humans should have commensal bacteria in their body naturally. The research team at Scioto is hoping their trial will not only demonstrate a positive impact on GI health, but also help reduce maladaptive behaviors common in autism. With successful clinical trials, SB-121 could become a frontline therapeutic for patients with autism in the future. 

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