Technological projects portfolio

Enzyme supplementation for the treatment of chronic inflammatory bowel disease

Investment: €642k

Scope: Health

Scientific field(s): Biology and medicinal chemistry

Institution(s): INRAE - AgroParisTech – Université Paris-Saclay - Sorbonne Université - AP-HP – Inserm

Development: Transfer to industrial partner in progress/completed

#IBD #Tryptophan #Inflammation


Eight million people worldwide suffer from chronic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The first-line treatments are corticosteroids, followed by biotherapies or complex immunotherapies, which only 1/3 of patients respond to in the long term. These treatments can also lose their effectiveness over time and cause significant side effects.

IBD, like many inflammatory diseases, is associated with a deregulation of tryptophan metabolism. Specifically, IBD patients showed a particular metabolic profile with an overproduction of pro-inflammatory metabolites and an underproduction of anti-inflammatory tryptophan-derived metabolites.


The strategy developed by ENGINE aims to restore homeostatic and therapeutic tryptophan metabolism by supplementing an enzyme of the kynurenine pathway. This enzyme has the advantage of being naturally present in healthy patients and of functioning only with a substrate that is present solely in an inflammatory context.

This novel strategy will therefore make it possible to develop a more physiological therapy than the treatments currently available, and with a good level of tolerance.


The ENGINE project will enable the development of an alternative or complementary therapy to the first-line therapies currently applied, which are not entirely satisfactory.

The application to IBD will be a proof of concept to develop this strategy in other inflammatory diseases associated with deregulation of tryptophan metabolism.