BMS-986020 for Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis

BMS-986020 is an anti-fibrotic drug being developed by Bristol-Myers Squibb, and is chemically a lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) receptor antagonist. The drug, an oral formulation, is in clinical trials as a New Molecular Entity (NME). It has been granted Orphan Drug Designation by the U.S. FDA for the treatment of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF).

How BMS-986020 Works

The main mechanism of action of BMS-986020 lies in selective inhibition of the LPA receptor, which is involved in binding of the signaling molecule lysophosphatidic acid, which in turn is involved in a host of diverse biological functions like cell proliferation, platelet aggregation, smooth muscle contraction, chemotaxis, and tumor cell invasion, among others.

Researchers have observed in preclinical murine models of pulmonary fibrosis that tissue damage is aggravated with the presence of these LPA receptors, and an inhibition in the number of LPA receptors have shown reduced fibroblast responses to chemotactic activities of the broncho-alveolar fluid, which is one of the primary reasons for development of scar, or fibrotic, tissue.

Trials Involving BMS-986020

Preclinical studies with the drug were tested successfully for anti-fibrotic activities in mouse models with not only pulmonary, but also skin, liver, kidney and ocular fibrosis, which were enough to prove its effectiveness at reducing fibrosis. These studies paved the way to human clinical studies. A Phase 1 clincial trial was completed in January 2015 with positive results, leading to a Phase 2 double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial to test the safety, efficacy, and tolerability of the drug in patients with IPF.

The study, which was expected to be completed in May 2016, aimed to test the improvements in forced vital capacity (FVC) in the lungs of 135 participants when treated with a daily dose of 600 mg of the drug compared to a placebo, at the end of 26 weeks of treatment.

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