Synairgen recently announced positive results from its collaboration with Pharmaxis in their goal to develop a lysyl oxidase type 2 enzyme (LOXL2) inhibitor as an innovative treatment for the life-threatening lung disease idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF).
Synairgen is a drug discovery and development company at the University of Southampton in England, which uses its BioBank platform and recognized KOL network to address unmet medical needs for patients with respiratory diseases, such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
IPF is a disease characterized by the thickening and scarring of lung tissue, preventing normal oxygen intake. Scar tissue is made of collagen fibers, and when these fibers are produced and cross-linked in excess, eventually leads to fibrosis. The disease progressively affects patients’ ability to breathe and can ultimately be fatal.
The results were obtained, together with researchers from the University of Southampton, through an in vitro IPF model. The team used lung cells from patients with IPF since human tissue-based cells are becoming increasingly recognized for their superiority in studying human disease in comparison to animal-based or cell line-based disease models. This is particularly significant in IPF, as the causes of disease development are not yet thoroughly understood.
The results of the experimental investigation suggested that, by inhibiting LOXL2, Pharmaxis’ enzyme inhibitors are able to reduce the progression of cross-linking activity in collagen fibers, in a dose-dependent manner. In addition, the research team also revealed that collagen fibers were less ordered when inhibitors were present.
It has been hypothesized that this process leads to scar tissue that is not as stiff, and this might slow the course of the disease.
“We are very pleased with the progress made with this collaboration and are excited by these results. We look forward to updating the markets with further progress over the coming months,” Synairgen’s CEO, Richard Marsden, said in a company press release.
Synairgen is now dedicating its efforts to the pharmacology assessment of these inhibitors, and expects to advance one of these LOXL2 inhibitors into a Phase 1 clinical trial in 2017.