Alleviating symptoms of pediatric diarrhea in developing countries

As you’ll learn if you spend enough time reading our blog and our website, Ventria Bioscience has a couple of different thrusts with regard to the use of our ExpressTec technology. On the one hand, ExpressTec is a platform technology—in other words, it’s a powerful and valuable tool for producing high yields of high-quality, highly pure recombinant protein in a very cost-effective manner. But in the end, the especially exciting part is what can be done with the proteins made using ExpressTec. Ventria Bioscience is currently focused on two broad therapeutic categories: inflammatory diseases and infectious disease. In the last post, we discussed a recent collaboration with Children’s Hospital of Colorado looking at potential mechanisms of Ventria Bioscience’s therapeutic candidate, VEN120, in mitigating inflammatory diseases of the gut. In this post, we take things back a little farther in time to discuss a collaboration between Ventria Bioscience, University of California, Davis, and Children’s Hospital in Lima, Peru, aimed at developing better therapies to reduce symptoms associated with pediatric diarrhea.

The goal of the study, the results of which were published in the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, was to compare diarrhea outcomes in children treated with a standard, glucose-based oral rehydration solution (G-ORS) with an ORS that had been supplemented with recombinant human lactoferrin (rhLactoferrin) and recombinant human lysozyme (rhLysozyme) made using Ventria Bioscience’s ExpressTec rice ((Lf/Lz-R-ORS). A rice-based ORS using plain, unmodified (R-ORS) was used as a control. The investigators conducted a double-blinded, randomized, controlled clinical trial in 140 children with acute diarrhea and dehydration ages 5 to 33 months.

Addition of plain rice to the ORS did not affect outcomes, but addition of the ExpressTec proteins resulted in shorter duration of diarrhea (3.67 vs 5.21 days, P=0.05) representing close to a 30% decrease compared to standard ORS.

These results are consistent with the proposed mechanism of action of human lactoferrin and human lysozyme, both of which are important components of human breastmilk and play key roles in protecting the infant gut from microbial pathogens, regulating immune self-tolerance, and modulating gut inflammation. Ventria Bioscience is currently working under a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop our therapeutic candidate, VEN BETA, for the treatment of diarrheal disease in children.


  1. Zavaleta N, Figueroa D, Rivera J, Sanchez J, Alfaro S, Lonnerdal B. Efficacy of rice-based oral rehydration solution containing recombinant human lactoferrin and lysozyme in Peruvian children with acute diarrhea. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2007;44 (2):258-264.