A lung fibrosis treatment based on a shark antibody is on the verge of entering a first clinical trial in patients. The treatment has shown promise in animal models of fibrosis, and offers hope for a therapy that is superior to current treatment approaches for lung fibrosis.
Developed by Australian-based AdAlta, the compound is a humanized version of a shark antibody, which has specific features that make it suitable for use as a treatment. AdAlta will work with researchers at La Trobe University in Australia on the clinical trial, planned to start in early 2018.
AdAlta recently reported that the compound, called AD-114, reduced both lung and liver fibrosis in mice. This data led to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) designating AD-114 an Orphan Drug in January, a designation that provides lower development costs and a more rapid regulatory assessment.
“We believe that AD-114 has the potential to be a new treatment for pulmonary fibrosis, a respiratory disease which results in scarring of the lung tissues,” Sam Cobb, AdAlta CEO, said in a press release. “Current therapies for pulmonary fibrosis are considered sub-optimal and there is a high-unmet medical need.”
“AD-114 now has strong pre-clinical results for pulmonary fibrosis, demonstrating both anti-fibrotic and anti-inflammatory activity in human lung tissue and indicating greater efficacy than existing approved drugs used to treat the disease,” Cobb added. “The drug’s anti-inflammatory and anti-fibrotic properties are effective in reducing collagen build-up in the lungs … There is great demand for a treatment as current lung fibrosis drugs have proved to have little impact in treating the disease for which there is no cure.”
AdAlta is also working on other treatments based on shark antibodies, which the company refers to as i-bodies. According to AdAlta’s chief scientific officer, Mick Foley, i-bodies constitute a new frontier in medicine.
“To the average person sharks are a creature to steer clear of, but in the scientific world treatments based on shark antibody have the potential to save lives,” said Foley, who is also an associate professor at La Trobe’s Institute of Molecular Science.
“In the future, we think the humanized i-body, AD-114, may also be a suitable drug to treat other forms of fibrosis found in the liver, skin, eyes, heart and kidneys,” Foley said.