Professor Gary Anderson, PhD, FThorSoc, FERS, and Director of the Lung Health Research Centre at the University of Melbourne recently revealed preclinical data related to PRS-060, Pieris Pharmaceuticals’ new inhaled IL4Ra antagonist for asthma treatment, at the 2015 European Respiratory Society (ERS) international meeting. The presentation was entitled, “Discovery of PRS-060, an inhalable CD123/IL4Ra/TH2 blocking anti-asthmatic anticalin protein re-engineered from endogenous lipocalin-1.”
PRS-060 is one of the company’s anticalin-based drug candidates developed using the company’s anticalin technology platform, and consists of an anticalin protein re-engineered from endogenous human lipocalin-1 into an antagonist for IL4Ra. IL4Ra is a transmembrane protein that binds IL-4 and IL-13, the principal cytokines in the Th2 response, and promotes IgGE production and differentiation of Th2 cells, factors that are critically important in Th2 pathway immune response in the onset of severe asthma in most patients. Advantages of anticalin proteins developed through this platform include safety, targeted delivery, lower risk of unwanted cross-reactive activity and extensive protein formatting options, among others. PRS-060 is directly delivered to the lungs, which translates into efficacy from very small doses and safety related to targeted-delivery.
The presentation included an overview of the re-engineering process used to formulate the drug and the new data obtained from pharmacokinetic studies that revealed low immunogenicity, rapid renal clearance and no accumulation, demonstrating a good safety profile of the protein drug. Dr. Anderson also discussed the delivery of the drug, which can be accomplished through inhalation as a wet aerosol or dry powder and concluded with a final positive remark: “these data demonstrate that PRS-060 has a pharmacological and galenical profile well suited for development as a first-in-class inhaled biological for T2-high severe asthma which is driven by the IL4Ra pathway.”
Mary Fitzgerald, PhD and newly appointed Vice President of Respiratory Medicine for Pieris Pharmaceuticals added, “As an inhaled targeted therapeutic protein, PRS-060 has the potential to bring a disease-modifying drug to uncontrolled asthma patients where there is a significant unmet medical need, which is an approach that that inhaled or oral small molecules have not been able to address. Importantly, we believe PRS-060 will also deliver a more convenient and effective approach than systemic biologics.”