Atopix Therapeutics Limited, a biopharmaceutical company focused on therapies for atopic dermatitis and severe asthma, recently announced that it has obtained additional development capital for the advance of its lead product OC459 in asthma treatment.
Asthma is a common chronic inflammatory lung disease that is estimated to affect 27 million individuals in the United States. OC459 is a low dose, once-daily oral therapy with an excellent safety profile in over 800 patients. The therapy is an antagonist of the chemoattractant receptor expressed on immune T helper type 2 cells (CRTH2). Th2 cells usually evoke strong allergen-specific antibody responses. OC459 can block the recruitment and activation of immune Th2 cells, such as lymphocytes and eosinophils.
The new funding will allow the initiation of a proof-of-concept study of OC459 in severe eosinophilic asthma, a serious form of the disease characterized by airway inflammation linked to eosinophils, a type of blood cell that defends the body from parasites and is involved in allergic reactions. These funds will also allow the general development of OC459, and a second CRTH2 antagonist called ATX2417, for diseases mediated by a Th2 response.
“This capital will help Atopix advance these promising medicines through further clinical development. Encouragingly, other studies with biologicals have shown that blockade of Th2 cytokines is safe and effective in the treatment of severe eosinophilic asthma and atopic dermatitis. We will continue to explore the utility of our more convenient oral therapies for patients with these difficult-to-manage diseases,” said the Executive Chairman of Atopix, Tim Edwards in a press release.
Previous studies have shown that OC459 is an effective therapy in asthmatics with an eosinophilic form of disease, as it improves the patient’s lung function and quality of life. The goal of this Phase 2a trial planned to start later this year is to assess the effect of OC459 in patients with severe eosinophilic asthma despite treatment with high doses of inhaled corticosteroids.
Silicon Valley Bank, which is specialized in funding innovation and biotech companies, is also involved in this project. “Silicon Valley Bank is delighted to be working with the Atopix management team and their syndicate of investors to support the business as they advance this promising medicine to its next clinical phase,” stated the Director of UK Life Sciences & Healthcare for Silicon Valley Bank, Nooman Haque.
Atopix also announced that the Imperial College London received a £1.3 million Biomedical Catalyst award to test OC459 in the reduction of inflammation triggered by the common cold that can lead to asthma attacks.