Curious to know a little more about Epiphany Therapeutics and the team behind its amazing products? Take a look at a recent interview with the company’s founder explaining the mission of Epiphany Therapeutics and how it all got started.
Interviewer: What is the purpose, or perhaps better stated, the mission of Epiphany Therapeutics?
Epiphany Therapeutics Founder: We exist to try to bring people relief from the symptoms of some of the most common, widespread conditions that reduce quality of life, that limit people’s ability to live the life they want and to do the things that are most important to them. We focus on affording people the opportunity to remain active, which we believe is likely to extend the period of time that we can all live independently and stay out of the healthcare system that is not designed for that purpose. All of the people associated with the founding of Epiphany have deep backgrounds in drug development in the Pharma and Biotech worlds. That fact has proven to make all the difference.
Interviewer: Very interesting. So what are some of these conditions that can have such profound impacts on our quality of life?
Founder: As we age, and really sometimes from birth, we all develop chronic inflammatory conditions that cause pain and frequently lead to tissue breakdown that can permanently affect how our bodies function. We all understand arthritis and tendonitis in this context, but these chronic conditions can also include a range of other maladies such as skin conditions that are always uncomfortable and frequently unsightly, such as atopic dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, and allergic dermatitis.
Interviewer: Big Pharma has spent billions of dollars trying to develop drugs for these conditions. Why do you think you are better able to relieve these conditions than pharmaceutical companies?
Founder: Pharma has become stuck driving their research based upon financial metrics to satisfy Wall Street investment expectations. They rely almost exclusively on developing drugs that can have long periods of exclusivity. That frequently means that they have to ignore the obvious and seek out the obtuse, for the simple reason that the obvious is not patentable. Pharma also needs markets for new drugs that can support increasingly high prices, which they quite naturally achieve in the fields of cancer and rare genetic disease. But that approach has proven to be a failure for the chronic conditions that capture our attention.
Interviewer: What is different in how you view these chronic conditions?
Founder: Once again, it is quite simple. We focus on providing the body with substances that naturally occur and are, without exception, already present in the human body and in a normal, healthy diet. Our view is that when these substances are depleted or present in too low a quantity, the immune system tends to overreact. In other words, when one substance is absent from the body, another substance (frequently an inflammatory protein) becomes overly present. The immune system then tends to attack that tissue in a condition commonly referred to as inflammation. The consequence of this aberrant inflammation in a joint, for example, is pain and stiffness. We call this state dysbiosis.
Interviewer: Can you give us a simple statement on how you approach relieving symptoms in chronic conditions?
Founder: Essential micronutrients. Is that simple enough?
Interviewer: Is Epiphany a dietary company, then?
Founder: Only in a very new sense of that term. There is always a reason that the body lacks certain substances, and most importantly, lacks them being in the right places in the chronic conditions that we focus on. One of the most common reasons is an individual’s inability to absorb these essential micronutrients by eating them. Instead, we try to cause the body to absorb the nutrients by applying them topically, most often to the skin in localized areas. The challenge is in allowing them to be absorbed. This is where we have excelled. It just isn’t as simple as it sounds.
Interviewer: In what conditions do you think you have had the most success?
Founder: Let’s be very clear here: it is not up to us to make a claim about efficacy or effect for any of our products, and certainly not about a single ingredient. We completely avoid what are known as “structure/function” claims. We make no claims about any specific disease or symptom of a disease. Any such statements would be subject to prior review and approval of the FDA, which we have not sought. Such claims are the sole purview of the FDA and the processes of scientific proof that they have established. We rely solely on what our customers and other users tell us.
With that said, we have apparently had broad success in allowing our customers to find relief from the chronic pain associated with arthritis, tendon and ligament pain, repetitive motion injury (think carpal tunnel in a broad sense), and gout. Our biggest headline-grabbing successes in the skin have been with eczema, where our customers report nearly complete success in eliminating symptoms within just a few days, including nearly immediate elimination of itch. The same applies to allergic dermatitis, where results seem to be powerful, although we have less information coming back to us from users, probably because this is a confusing diagnosis that frequently overlaps with eczema. Our users report really interesting success with psoriasis, but that is a disease that requires careful attention and commitment.
We have had truly remarkable reports of users’ success in managing the symptoms of an all-too-common disease known as diverticulitis, a frequently repeated or chronic infection of the intestines. We will have more to say on behalf of our users in the next few weeks.
Interviewer: Is there a buzzword or phrase that captures how you view the ways in which your customers use your products?
Founder: I think that has to be, “Chronic conditions require chronic therapy.” Living a high-quality life, independently and for a long time requires that you stay on top of the symptoms that slow you down and take joy from your life.
Interviewer: Thank you for your great insights!
About the Authors
William Goolsbee has spent his career in Life Sciences including leading roles in drug development in immunology and genetic medicine. Recent senior positions include Chairman of the Board at Sarepta Therapeutics and Founder and CEO at Metrodora Therapeutics.
Dr. Gil Price
Gil Price M.D. is the Chief Medical Officer at the Propharma Group, where he provides medical supervision for all clinical trials. He previously served as the Chief Executive Officer of Drug Safety Solutions, where he oversaw safety monitoring for drugs in clinical development. Dr. Price also served as the Director of Clinical Development at Medimmune Oncology and Director of Medical Affairs at Glaxo.