Start-up Spotlight

Start-up explores chitin-glucan synergies for gut health solutions

By Nikki Hancocks

- Last updated on GMT

© ChrisChrisW / Getty Images
© ChrisChrisW / Getty Images

Related tags Startup company Probiotics microbiome Gut health

Belgian gut health ingredient startup BioKuris is on the search for commercial partners to expand the reach and potential of its innovative chitin-glucan based products.

As a spin-off of Kitozyme, a chitosan and chitin-glucan manufacturer that develops greener alternatives for chemicals, plastic and animal-derived ingredients, BiOkuris was created to explore novel human health benefits of these fungal ingredients. 

It launched in 2021 with a focus on identifying nutraceutical solutions for chronic intestinal diseases using insoluble fiber chitin-glucan as the platform for developing microbiome modulating ingredients in synergistic combination with other ingredients.

For example, the Kiotransine chitin-glucan ingredient, a proprietary non-animal, non-GMO biopolymer extracted and purified from Aspergillus niger​, has a unique mode of action making it an ally in developing innovative solutions in the fight against intestinal ailments.

The ingredient's rigorously tested benefits range from reducing pain and decreasing inflammatory lesions to impacting gut microbiota activity and composition​ to promoting health-beneficial short-chain fatty acid production and chelating toxins.

Through intensive screening and research, the team at BiOkuris selected the appropriate ingredients and respective combinations with Kiotransine to deliver a pipeline of products all containing this ingredient.

Gastrap is the company’s first commercially available product and mixes the core ingredient with simethicone to reduce excessive gas and bloating.

A second product combining a probiotic (from IFF) and vitamin D3, is currently in clinical testing for IBS​, and a third containing KiOtransine alone has been developed for “IBS-like symptoms” and is now being clinically assessed in IBD patients in remission​.

Finally, the team has created a chitosan product, which has demonstrated anti-fungal properties and is currently in pre-clinical stage to evaluate its efficacy in preventing recurrent vulvo vaginal infections.

Leveraging science and healthcare expertise

With more than 30 years-experience in pharma, life science and health care SMEs, BiOkuris’ CEO Francois Blondel said he is hopeful for the start-up’s future: "With the current financing, the team’s R&D expertise and efforts, we have successfully built, over a relatively short period, a solid pipeline around Kiotransine. We can also claim our approach works since our first product Gastrap is already on the market."

Benoit Palms, the firm’s chief business officer, who previously worked at IFF Health, added: "The versatility of Kiotransine and its combination potential with other ingredients or probiotics present remarkable promise and uniqueness.

"It allows us to create patentable customized products tackling the unmet needs of patients enduring chronic intestinal diseases. It opens a lot of perspectives for strategic collaborations and definitely so for patients."

Gastrap is currently commercially available in France and central eastern Europe, and the team is looking for additional partners to expand its presence across Europe and potentially Asia.

Related topics Markets Gut/digestive health

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