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A novel TNF alpha inhibitor

Technology Number: 


Principal Investigator



Biological Regulation

Patent Status: 

Granted US 9764008

New generation of superior nature-inspired therapeutics for treating inflammation.Inflammation is characterized by elevated levels of TNF-?. Neutralizing TNF-? activity was shown to be beneficial for patients with chronic autoimmune inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). However, current treatments of such conditions include general anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive drugs that are of limited effectiveness and may cause serious side effects. Another class of drugs includes targeted therapies directed against TNF-?, that are associated with serious infections including tuberculosis (TB) and sepsis as well as increased risk of cancer in some cases. Thus, there is an urgent need for highly selective, safer and more effective drugs for inflammatory conditions that involve TNF-? as a key mediator. The present technology introduces a novel generation of candidate drugs that selectively inhibit the processing of TNF-?, thereby preventing it from exerting its pro-inflammatory properties. This technology provides a framework for the development of safer and more effective therapeutics for IBD and related autoimmune disorders.


  • Treatment of autoimmune inflammatory conditions such as IBD and RA.
  • Treatment of neuroinflammatory conditions such as multiple sclerosis (MS).
  • Treatment of other inflammatory mediated diseases such as psoriasis, systemic sclerosis and ankylosing spondylitis.
  • All MMPs and ADAMs proteases possess an autoinhibitory pro-domain and therefore this technology can be broadened to other MMP and ADAM targets.


  • TACE pro-domain is highly potent and efficient.
  • TACE pro-domain is metabolically stable, unlike small molecule inhibitors of TACE.
  • Targeting TACE through nature-inspired protein design may constitute a safer approach to combat TNF-? induced inflammation.
  • Unlike non-specific small molecule inhibitors, which target the conserved catalytic zinc site of TACE, TACE pro-domain shares little homology to other MMPs, making it a good candidate for specific inhibitor of TACE.

Technology's Essence

The A disintegrin and metalloproteinase 17 (ADAM17), also known as tumor necrosis factor-? converting enzyme (TACE), has been defined as the major shedding protease for a broad range of substrates predominantly the key immuno-regulatory cytokines TNF-?. Cleavage by TACE renders TNF-? pro-inflammatory, highlighting ADAM17 as a rationale target for treatment of autoimmune diseases such as IBD and arthritis. A team of researchers at the Weizmann institute headed by Prof. Irit Sagi, has employed a sophisticated approach towards TACE targeting by exploiting its autoinhibitory pro-domain as a platform for the ‘smart design’ of TACE selective natural inhibitors. The therapeutic potential of TACE pro-domain was demonstrated in IBD mouse models, where TACE pro-domain administration showed significant improvement in multiple parameters such as reduced mortality and weight lost, in a dose dependent manner. Additional in vivo studies demonstrated that the TACE pro-domain is highly stable in vivo and harbors specificity towards the activated immune cells located in colon lesions. Thus, the novel TACE inhibitor presented in this technology leads to significant therapeutic effects and is beneficial in controlling inflammation in IBD disease manifestations in mice.

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