Synairgen, plc, recently reported positive data from its ongoing work, in partnership with Pharmaxis, to develop a lysyl oxidase type 2 enzyme (LOXL2) inhibitor as a new treatment for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). The results were derived from experiments in an in vitro model of IPF, using patients’ lung cells, conducted in association with researchers at the University of Southampton, United Kingdom.
Models derived from human tissue are gradually being recognized as superior for research into certain diseases than animal or cell-line-based models. This is especially true in the case of IPF, where the underlying mechanisms that cause the condition remain poorly understood.
The reported data demonstrated that the Pharmaxis enzyme inhibitors, by inhibiting LOXL2, reduced in a dose-dependent manner the cross-linking of collagen fibers. In addition, researchers found the collagen fibers were less organized when in the presence of the inhibitors. The team believes that this results in less “stiff” tissue in the lungs, which can positively alter disease progression.
Synairgen is now working on the pharmacology of the different LOXL2 inhibitors, and plans to select the best one and progress it into Phase 1 clinical trials next year.
“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,” Richard Marsden, chief executive of Synairgen, said in a press release.
IPF is a specific form of a chronic, progressive fibrosing interstitial condition of unknown cause, primarily occurring in older adults. The condition is limited to the lungs, and the clinical symptoms are nonspecific and can be shared with many pulmonary and cardiac diseases. Most patients present with a gradual onset (often more than six months) of exertional dyspnea and/or a nonproductive cough. Approximately 5 percent have no presenting symptoms when IPF is diagnosed. In the United States alone, more than 100,000 patients are affected by the disease.