Mark Pimentel

Mark Pimentel

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center has entered into an agreement with Synthetic Biologics Inc. to conduct a clinical study of a drug to treat irritable bowel syndrome.

The Beverly Grove hospital announced the agreement Sept. 6 with the publicly owned San Diego biotech firm that holds an exclusive license to the drug developed at Cedars-Sinai.

The drug, known as SYN-010, is designed to reduce methane gas produced by microorganisms in the gut to treat an underlying cause of irritable bowel syndrome with constipation, or IBS-C.

“This research collaboration is a further demonstration of Cedars-Sinai’s support for the advancement of promising therapies that harness the power of the microbiome to treat GI disorders such as IBS-C,” said Dr. Mark Pimentel, a gastroenterologist at Cedars-Sinai and executive director of its Medical Associated Science and Technology program.

A phase 2 clinical study, co-funded by Cedars-Sinai and Synthetic Biologics, will take place at the hospital’s Pimentel Laboratory and may begin enrolling as many as 150 patients in the fourth quarter of this year.

Both Cedars-Sinai and Pimentel have a financial stake in Synthetic Biologics, according to the hospital.

The market for SN-010, a modified-release formulation of lovastatin, may include 45 million people in North America with irritable bowel syndrome.

Health business reporter Dana Bartholomew can be reached at dbartholomew@labusinessjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter @_DanaBart.