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04 Jun 2024

EpiEndo and AlveoliX Update on Partnership to Pioneer Ulcerative Colitis Treatment

REYKJAVIK, ICELAND & BERN, SWITZERLAND – 4 June 2024 – EpiEndo Pharmaceuticals (‘EpiEndo’), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company leading in epithelial biology, and AlveoliX, a pioneer in organ-on-chip technology, announce significant milestones in their collaboration to revolutionize ulcerative colitis (UC) treatment. The EpicoliX Project is supported by a grant of ~EUR1.4M from the Eureka Eurostars funding program, the Icelandic Technology Development Fund, and Innosuisse in Switzerland.

UC is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). UC patients endure chronic pain due to persistent inflammation and ulceration of the tissues lining the colon and rectum. It is estimated that approximately 0.3%-0.5% of the global population is affected by IBD, with UC accounting for c.10-20% of those cases. There is a significant unmet need for innovative therapies to address the symptoms of UC and improve quality of life for patients.

The EpicoliX Project began in May 2021 with EpiEndo and AlveoliX working together to develop potential novel therapeutics for UC. The project combines AlveoliX’s cutting-edge organ-on-chip technology with EpiEndo’s expertise in chronic inflammatory diseases and drug development, including its portfolio of proprietary epithelium-enhancing, anti-inflammatory drugs. By enhancing the epithelium, EpiEndo’s new class of orally available macrolides, known as ‘Barriolides™’, have the potential to alleviate inflammation and ulcer formation, offering a novel therapeutic approach for UC and other inflammatory indications.

To date, the key milestones of the EpicoliX Project are as follows:

  • A new gut-on-chip model has been developed to mimic the colon epithelium of UC patients, and used to screen and select lead compounds from EpiEndo’s libraries that indicate promising effects on the gut epithelium.
  • The selected compounds have undergone comprehensive preclinical testing, including in vivo studies to validate their efficacy in enhancing the colon epithelium.
  • The parallel testing of the compounds within the AX gut on-chip model made a significant impact on decision-making and contributed essentially to the successful candidate selection.
  • A Barriolide™, Enterothelin, emerged as the lead candidate compound, showing promise as a first-in-class therapy that addresses the underlying cause of UC.

Commenting on the collaborative project, Jennifer Kricker, Head of Research at EpiEndo, said: “Partnering with AlveoliX has allowed us the opportunity to investigate and advance the development of our proprietary Barriolides™ as potential therapeutics for UC. Testing our new candidates using the gut-on-chip model offered significant advantages compared to a preclinical in vivo model only approach. Our two companies share a commitment to using innovative approaches to deliver therapies that address the root causes of chronic diseases.”

Maria Bech, CEO at EpiEndo added: “We are proud of what we’ve achieved so far in our quest to find novel UC therapeutics, and we thank Eureka Eurostars, the Icelandic Technology Development Fund, and Innosuisse for supporting our programme. We intend to find a partner to support continuation of this exciting early preclinical project."

Nina Hobi, Co-CEO at AlveoliX, commented: “We have greatly valued partnering with EpiEndo in the EpicoliX Project. Our aim has been to tackle the challenge of creating a gut-on-chip model, mimicking the colon epithelium of UC patients, to provide a legitimate alternative to animal testing, which is our underlying premise. We are proud to have helped progress the development of Enterothelin as a potential new therapeutic for UC. This is a significant step toward a brighter future for patients.”

Note: This press release does not include financial details or specific project plans, focusing instead on the collaboration's overall goals and potential impact.

EpiEndo Pharmaceuticals:

Maria Bech, CEO
Tel: +354 454 0090­­­

Nina Hobi, CEO

Tel: +41 77 267 86 26

Instinctif Partners (media relations):
Melanie Toyne-Sewell / Katie Duffell / Feaven Abidta

Tel: +44 20 7457 2020

About EpiEndo Pharmaceuticals (

EpiEndo is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company with a unique approach to inflammatory disorders that focuses on the role of epithelial function in various inflammatory disorders.

Epithelial cells are a key part of the barrier that makes up human lung tissue and other organs such as the gut and skin. Damage to this barrier is implicated in several chronic inflammatory diseases.

EpiEndo’s new class of orally available macrolides, with reduced antimicrobial resistance (AMR) potential, known as ‘Barriolides™’, show promise as first-in-class therapeutics for chronic respiratory diseases as well as other inflammatory indications. EpiEndo’s lead asset, EP395, was the first Barriolide™ to enter clinical trials, for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

EP395 aims to be the first on-market oral, barrier-enhancing and anti-inflammatory drug, which has the potential to be a unique and impactful treatment option for COPD patients. According to the WHO, COPD is the third leading cause of death globally, and the global economic burden of COPD is projected to cost $4.8 trillion by 2030.

About AlveoliX 

AlveoliX's mission is to make organs-on-chips the new standard for preclinical decision-making and the preferred technology for achieving near-human conditions in translational research. This technology accelerates drug safety and efficacy assessment during preclinical development, empowering pharmaceutical companies to make faster decisions. Ultimately, it drives the development of safer drugs and advances personalized medicine while reducing reliance on animal testing. For more information, visit:

About Eurostars™ 

Eurostars™ is a joint initiative co-funded from the national budgets of 36 Eurostars and by the European Union through Horizon 2020. By providing financial aid, the initiative enables R&D-performing SMEs and research institutes from Eurostars™ participating states and partner countries to focus on their market-oriented research and development as well as improve their performance. For more information, visit:

About Icelandic Technology Development Fund 

The Technology Development Fund supports research and development activities that aim towards innovation in Icelandic industry. For more information, visit:

About Innosuisse 

Innosuisse is the Swiss Innovation Agency, which funds science-based innovation in the interests of industry and society in Switzerland. For more information, visit: