Development of First-In-Class Antibody Therapeutics and New Acquisition Brings Hope to Patients with Fibrotic and Inflammatory Diseases

The breakthrough discovery of investigational therapies for multiple human diseases by a team of Singapore clinicians, clinician scientists and scientists from National Heart Centre Singapore (NHCS), SingHealth Duke-NUS AMC and the Singapore based biotech company Enleofen Bio, along with a newly forged acquisition with Boehringer Ingelheim, brings hope to patients with fibro-inflammatory conditions worldwide.

Due to an incomplete knowledge of the fibrotic process, there are currently very limited effective therapies to treat many fibro-inflammatory diseases. The discovery of the role of a specific protein – interleukin 11 (IL-11) – in fibrotic diseases of the liver, lung, kidney, eye, skin and heart stimulated the development of bio-therapeutics called neutralising antibodies, to target and block IL-11 to reverse inflammation and improve fibrosis in diseased body organs. The findings of the various pre-clinical studies were published in high impact scientific journals1.

“More than 225 million people worldwide suffer from heart and kidney failure, which resulted from the hardening of the organ tissues with no treatment. The development of anti-IL-11 therapies will offer hope to patients with end-stage heart, kidney, lung or liver failure, addressing the unmet medical needs of patients worldwide,” shared Professor Terrance Chua, Medical Director, NHCS and Group Chairman Medical Board, SingHealth.

A new strategic acquisition between Enleofen Bio and the global pharmaceutical company, Boehringer Ingelheim, has been announced. This acquisition adds large value to the IL11 programme and greatly accelerates the therapies towards the clinic. Boehringer Ingelheim is a global leader in the treatment of fibrotic lung diseases and in therapeutic antibodies. On top of its continued focus on fibrotic lung diseases, Boehringer Ingelheim is committed to targeting fibrosis and inflammation in multiple new areas, starting with liver disease. Boehringer Ingelheim also brings deep expertise in drug manufacturing and clinical development giving the IL-11 programme the best chance of success.

“We are very excited to engage Boehringer Ingelheim, a leading and innovative pharmaceutical company on this important phase of drug and clinical development. This marks a major biotechnology success in Singapore and we are extremely proud of the clinicians and scientists at NHCS and Duke-NUS,” said Professor Stuart Cook, Tanoto Foundation Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine, Director of Duke-NUS’ Cardiovascular and Metabolic Disorders Programme, and Senior Consultant at the Department of Cardiology, NHCS.

“This collaboration brings together Boehringer Ingelheim’s expertise in drug development and NHCS’ and SingHealth Duke-NUS AMC’s strengths in clinical care and translational research. This is a crucial step in the translational medicine process, and puts us in good stead to bring new anti-IL11 therapies and improve healthcare outcomes for patients in Singapore and beyond,” said Professor Ivy Ng, Group CEO, SingHealth.

“This is yet another example of the impactful research emerging from the Academic Medicine acquisition between Duke-NUS and SingHealth, which integrates cutting-edge science with patient care. This new acquisition between Enleofen Bio and Boehringer Ingelheim provides great promise for practical and clinical solutions to improve healthcare and patients’ lives,” said Professor Thomas M. Coffman, Dean of Duke-NUS Medical School.

The discovery science and drug target validation was made possible by the research done in the laboratories of National Heart Research Institute of Singapore (NHRIS) of NHCS, DukeNUS Medical School’s Cardiovascular & Metabolic Disorders Programme and SingHealth Duke-NUS AMC. Funding from the National Medical Research Council (NMRC) underpinned the research on IL-11, which was patented over several years of scientific study at SingHealth Duke-NUS AMC.

About SingHealth Duke-NUS Academic Medical Centre

The SingHealth Duke-NUS Academic Medical Centre draws on the collective strengths of SingHealth and Duke-NUS Medical School to drive the transformation of healthcare and provide affordable, accessible, quality healthcare. With 42 clinical specialties, a network of 2 Hospitals, 5 National Specialty Centres, 9 Polyclinics and a Community Hospital, it delivers comprehensive, multi-disciplinary and integrated care. Sengkang Health, a new healthcare system to deliver patient-centric care to the community in the north-east of Singapore is currently developing Sengkang General and Community Hospitals which are slated for completion in 2018.  For more information, please visit:

About National Heart Centre Singapore

The National Heart Centre Singapore (NHCS) is a national and regional referral centre for cardiovascular diseases. NHCS provides a one-stop comprehensive cardiac care ranging from preventive, diagnostic, therapeutic to rehabilitative services. It is also the only heart and lung transplantation centre in Singapore.

Each year, NHCS handles over 120,000 outpatient consultations, 9,000 interventional and surgical procedures and 10,000 inpatients. Its clinical outcomes for heart attack treatment, balloon angioplasty with stenting and coronary bypass surgery have been shown to be equivalent to international benchmarks. Established in 1998, NHCS is the pioneer in cardiovascular care in Singapore. For more information, please visit

About Enleofen Bio

Enleofen Bio Pte. Ltd. was founded in 2017 as a spin-out from National Heart Centre Singapore (NHCS), SingHealth and Duke-NUS Medical School, under the SingHealth Duke-NUS Academic Medical Centre (AMC), Singapore. Enleofen is a Singapore-based biotech company developing first-in-class antibody therapeutics for the treatment of fibro-inflammatory human diseases. The initial discovery science and drug target validation was carried out by Scientific Founders Prof Stuart Cook and Dr Sebastian Schäfer at SingHealth Duke-NUS AMC and was subsequently licensed to Enleofen, where Prof Cook is a Director. Since 2017, the company has invested extensively in target validation, drug development, and preclinical studies, with the support of experienced international life sciences executives and investors, including founding Directors Jeffrey Lu and Andrew Khoo. For more information, please visit