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Philadelphia-based Mebias Discovery, which operates in the field of drug discovery targeting G-protein coupled receptors (GPCR), has closed a $3.5 million investment by Viva Biotech Ltd. and Sprout BioVentures.

The investment will be used by Mebias Discovery to expand its pipeline with new gastrointestinal (GI) and inflammation programs, applying the company’s novel platform to find drugs with significantly less, or negative, on‑target adverse effects.

One Mebias development program will develop Motilin receptor signaling pathway-selective agonists to overcome fading efficacy faced by patients during treatment of gastric motility disorders. Current therapeutic agents, such as erythromycin, become ineffective within weeks due to a patient’s developing tolerance to the drug.

The second Mebias development program will target the Sphingosine-1-Phosphate receptor (S1P1) for the treatment of pain and neuroinflammation. Drugs that are highly selective towards S1P1 should provide a better therapeutic window by reducing neuroinflammation as well as neuropathic pain for prolonged periods of time as compared to current drugs targeting S1P1.