History: VITAbolus was founded in 2018 to give everyone access to cell therapy, defined as using live cells to treat disease. After decades in the stem cell field developing cell therapies and experiencing some of the hurdles in this industry, we reasoned that by focusing on the route of delivery, we could address some of these challenges. To do so, VITAbolus engineered proprietary, inexpensive, and readily available cell capsules.
Mission: We want to "democratize” cell therapy by giving everyone access to it. Right now, cell therapy is only available to those who can afford it and can drive to a hospital or clinic that offers it. By making an oral formulation, we will deliver cell therapy to everyone in need. Our first target indication for the oral cell therapy is Crohn's an inflammatory bowel disease [IBD]. Looking ahead, we expect that the oral cell therapy will be effective in aging, aging-related disorders, and many other inflammatory diseases.
Where we are: With funds set aside from the sale of our previous patented stem cell technology, we designed an oral cell formula that withstands the acid of the gut and safely deploys its cell load into the intestines and colon. We recorded the viability of the cells, the gut pH resistance of the cells, and their post deployment anti-inflammatory properties. We also tested the oral cell therapy in a pig study and showed their safety. Next, in preparation for our first in man IBD studies, we will test the effect of the oral cell therapy in established IBD models.
Aline "ALI" M. Betancourt, PhD
Founder and CSO
Aline M. Betancourt, PhD Founder and CSO, is a recognized expert in the field of stem cells, cancer, and stem cell-based therapies. She has greatly contributed to the understanding of many aspects of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) over the last two decades.
Her laboratory was the first to show that Toll-like receptors (TLRs) on MSCs affects their stress responses and immune modulation. She was also first to describe paradigm-shifting evidence that MSCs can be induced into both the accepted immunosuppressive MSC2 phenotype and a new pro-inflammatory MSC1 phenotype. This patented work led to her first FDA pre-IND review and pre-clinical validation in 7 disease models. This technology was sold to SanBio [Mountain View, CA]. She recently started VITAbolus to solve some of the hurdles in the cell-based therapy industry. VITAbolus aims to democratize cell therapy-- giving everyone access to it by making an inexpensive and readily available stem cell pill.
Dr. Betancourt has been the principal investigator for numerous NIH and DOD funded projects. She serves on the scientific advisory boards of CARB-X Boston University and Validus Therapeutics.
Dr. Betancourt received her PhD degree from Georgetown University. Her postdoctoral training in cancer research began at the NIH-NCI. She was a faculty member of Tulane University School of Medicine from 1994-2014 and continues to be an Adjunct Associate Professor there.
Jose Morachis, Founder and CEO NanoCellect
Curt Becker USD The Brink
Sibylle Hauser WIB, Roche
Stephen Dow PhD, DVM, CSU
Professor, Immunology | Director, Center for Immune and Regenerative Medicine
Amy Lightner, MD expert in clinical trials that locally deliver cells for IBD treatment
Associate Professor of Colorectal Surgery, Associate Professor of Inflammation and Immunity
Lerner Research Institute Cleveland Clinic Foundation
Dr. Betancourt is the inventor of the “Oral Delivery of Therapeutic Mammalian Cells” technology and other related technologies. Our patent portfolio is managed by Wilson, Sonsini, Goodrich and Rosati [WSGR].