Aquinox Pharmaceuticals, a Canadian based pharmaceutical company that focuses on the discovery and development of drug therapies for cancer and inflammatory conditions, announced on Monday that they had reached their target enrollment for their multinational Phase 2 Flagship trial of AQX-1125. AQX-1125 is a therapeutic drug that potentially treats chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) following a recent patient exacerbation. In a climate of clinical trial enrollment failures, it was an announcement that anxiously-awaiting shareholders and patients were happy to hear.
COPD is a category of diseases, including emphysema and chronic bronchitis, which make it difficult for patients to efficiently empty their lungs, causing shortness of breath and chronic fatigue, which significantly impacts a patient’s daily life. It is the third leading cause of death, affecting 10 million patients worldwide. The main risk factor for COPD is being a current smoker. A common and potentially deadly complication that patients diagnosed with COPD endure is an exacerbation, also known as a “flare up.” The symptoms are akin to what is observed during pneumonia: increased breathlessness, coughing, and sputum production. Oftentimes, it is the result of an infection and is usually treated with an antibiotic.
Healthcare practitioners specializing in COPD agree that finding a way to successfully prevent exacerbations would be a key in delaying both physical decline and death in their patients. Aquinox’s AQX-1125 will possibly do just that by modulating the enzymatic activity of SHIP1, an important component of the immune system, resulting in reduction of the inflammatory response. Regulation of this response will hopefully decrease both the duration and incidence of exacerbations.
In a statement highlighting the importance of this announcement, David Main, President and CEO of Aquinox said, “COPD has emerged as the third leading cause of death in the United States and worldwide in part due to the inability to effectively resolve and prevent exacerbations. FLAGSHIP was designed to yield comprehensive insight into the effects of oral, once daily AQX-1125 on overall COPD symptoms including the frequency, severity, and duration of exacerbations. We would like to thank all of the patients and investigators who participated in FLAGSHIP and we anticipate last patient’s final visit in May 2015 with reporting of top line data near mid-year.”
Aquinox Pharmaceuticals was founded in 2006 after a discovery of the immunological regulating functions of the enzyme SHIP1, which was made at the University of British Columbia. They became a publicly traded company in 2014, through an IPO that grossed over $53 million.