Pipeline Exits

New hope from old drugs for cystic fibrosis: startup explores combination therapy

Experimental Human Biology
Clinical Translational Research Unit (CTRU)
Small Molecule
Rare Diseases
β-adrenergic and cholinergic receptors
Licensed to startup company

About the Project

Defective mucociliary clearance (MCC) is at the root of the fatal lung disease cystic fibrosis (CF). Regimens to effectively address MCC are an unmet need in CF, particularly for patients who still experience disease progression despite recent therapeutic advances. Dr. Milla’s group identified profound changes in MCC using a combination of β-adrenergic and cholinergic agonists. This previously unsuspected effect constitutes a major innovation in the MCC field. Dr. Milla sought to repurpose these drugs as a combination agent. Benefitting from IMA funds, Dr. Milla demonstrated that a combination of the β-adrenergic formoterol and the cholinergic carbachol synergize to improve mucus clearance in patients. As a result of the IMA funding, Dr. Milla has started a company, MCC Therapeutics, Inc, to continue developing the novel therapeutics based on cholinergic-adrenergic synergism. 


Carlos Milla

Principal Investigator

Jenna Bollyky

Scientific Director

Elizabeth Sefton

Program Manager