The chief executive officer and president of Pacific Therapeutics, a clinical stage specialty pharmaceutical company dedicated to the development of treatments for fibrosis and erectile dysfunction, commented on the recent interest of big pharmaceutical companies in acquiring therapies for the treatment of fibrosis. Doug Unwin said that the situation is now completely different than when Pacific Therapeutics started working on these kinds of medications.
“The interest in fibrosis by large pharmaceutical companies is a complete 360, compared to when the company was founded and these companies had no interest in fibrosis treatments or orphan indications,” stated Unwin, just few days after Bristol Myers Squibb announced an agreement with Galecto Biotech for an early-stage program regarding idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, and with the option of acquiring the company later.
The $444 million in upfront payments and milestones agreement involves the global rights for Galecto’s TD139, an, investigational inhaled inhibitor of galectin-3 for the treatment of IPF and other pulmonary fibrotic conditions. The therapy, which is currently in its phase 1 of development, both BMS and Galecto believe will be able to slow the progress of fibrosis.
In September, Roche Holdings also announced an $8.3 billion acquisition of InterMune, a company whose lead product was a IPF treatment. The company’s main asset, called Pirfenidone, has already been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and is available under prescription in the United States. In fact, Roche and BMS have become direct competitors, as the FDA approved their two drug treatments at the same time, making them the first therapies targeted specifically for IPF.
Pacific Therapeutics on the other hand has been focused on the treatment of fibrosis for several years, and its lead drug, PTL-202, combines a compound approved by the FDA with a potent antioxidant. The efficacy of the anti-fibrotic compound was assessed by the company in preclinical models, as well as in an initial clinical trial of the combination with positive results.
In addition, the company recently announced that it was seeking a commercialization partner for the sale of PTL-202, as a result of the first studies conducted, as well as their belief that the market for IPF is growing.