Synairgen announced the revision in the terms of its collaboration with Pharmaxis to advance the development of its Lysyl Oxidase type 2 (LOXL2) program for the treatment of fibrotic conditions, including pulmonary fibrosis (PF).
Fibrosis develops due to abnormal wound healing, and is characterized by a buildup of scar tissue. Scar tissue is made of collagen fibers, which are produced by cells called fibroblasts. Fibroblasts release an enzyme called LOXL2, which links collagen fibers together to stiffen the scar. For this reason, inhibiting or blocking LOXL2 may be a way of treating fibrotic conditions like PF.
Synairgen has collaborated with Pharmaxis for the past two years to develop LOXL2 inhibitors, and both laboratory and animal studies have shown these inhibitors significantly reduce fibrosis.
The collaboration allowed Synairgen to generate data in the area of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), while Pharmaxis has focused on research into liver fibrosis, including non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), cardiac fibrosis and kidney fibrosis.
The agreement revision, drawn based on these early study results, establishes that Pharmaxis will be fully responsible for the LOXL2 program, including an ongoing Phase 1 trial of the LOXL2 inhibitor known as PXS-5382 in Australia.
The trial is expected to run until mid-2018. The team believes that PXS-5382 might treat a number of fibrotic conditions, including those affecting the lung, liver, heart and kidneys.
Pharmaxis is also developing another LOXL2 inhibitor, called PXS-5338, now in Phase 1 trial in other fibrotic conditions.
Under the agreement, Synairgen will receive a payment of £5 million (about $6.7 million). It holds no financial responsibilities for further development of LOXL2 candidates but will lend technical support during the licensing process.
“As we draw nearer to an optimal point for partnering the programme, it is more effective … to hand all control of the development to Pharmaxis to enable a single point of focus for multi-indication partnering discussions,” Richard Marsden, chief executive officer of Synairgen, said in a press release.