Available technologies

Lactobacillus ST peptide for therapeutic use against inflammatory bowel disease

Reference number: 5849

66aa, ~7kDa serine/threonine-rich protein (STp) derived from Lactobacillus plantarum, resistant to proteolysis and with an immunomodulatory effect representing a potential novel therapeutic for IBD.

Proposed use

Orally available, protein-based immunotherapy for treatment of IBD (e.g. Ulcerative Colitis)

Problem addressed

The interactions between the microbiota and local immune system within the gut are believed to play a role in certain  disorders such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), with  the disruption of intestinal homeostasis believed to be a mechanism behind some of these disorders. Lactobacillus plantarum is a mesophilic lactic acid bacterium, and one of the most predominant Lactobacillus species resident in  the human gut. It has been suggested for use as a probiotic due to its ability to survive within and interact with the human intestine.

Technology overview

The ST peptide is based on an active domain of a protein secreted by a strain of Lactobacillus plantarum, so-called because it is rich in serine and threonine. The peptide interacts with human immune dendritic cells (DCs) specifically to block the pro-inflammatory interleukin, IL-12, and to stimulate production of the anti-inflammatory interleukin, IL-102,3, thereby restoring gut immune homeostasis. The programme derived from initial research lead by Prof Stella Knight and colleagues at St Mark’s Hospital (an international referral centre for intestinal and colorectal disorders) that found a lack of STp in Ulcerative Colitis (UC) patients compared to healthy controls. Interestingly, preliminary in vivo data shows that the peptide is orally available, resistant to proteolytic degradation, results in reduced gut inflammation and reverses signs of UC in the animal model.


  • Novel biological product, that has demonstrated in vitro to reduce inflammation by modulating dendritic cells
  • Postbiotic resistant to digestion
  • Small dosage combined with low production costs makes the effective dose per person very cheap

Development stage

  • Preliminary in vivo data in animal models of UC and access to clinical experts at St Mark’s Hospital – international referral centre for GI disorders
  • Potential for development of a companion diagnostic due to absence of STp in patients with UC vs healthy individuals

Intellectual property information

Patents granted in Europe (EP2754666), US (US9340588), and Japan  (JP6059230B)


  • Bernardo et al (2014) Altered human gut dendritic cell properties in ulcerative colitis are reversed by  Lactobacillus plantarum extracellular encrypted peptide STp, Mol. Nutr. Food Res. 2014, 58, 1132–  1143
  • Bernardo et al (2012) Microbiota/Host Crosstalk Biomarkers: Regulatory Response of Human Intestinal  Dendritic Cells Exposed to Lactobacillus Extracellular Encrypted Peptide, PLOS One 7(5): e36262
  • Sánchez et al (2009) Identification of Novel Proteins Secreted by Lactobacillus plantarum that Bind to  Mucin and Fibronectin, Journal of Molecular Microbiology and Biotechnology 17: 158-162

Download the datasheet

Developed at Imperial College London by Stella Knight


Nour Allouache

Industry Partnerships and Commercialisation Officer, Medicine


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