3 Companies Team Up to Develop SF2523 for PF, Cancer, COVID-19

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by Marisa Wexler, MS |

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A trio of global companies is teaming up to develop an inhaled dry powder formulation of SF2523, an investigational small molecule that blocks the activity of two fibrosis-driving proteins that may help block tumor growth and ease lung scarring and inflammation.

SF2523 is being developed as a treatment for pulmonary fibrosis (PF) and other inflammatory conditions, as well as for lung cancer and COVID-19.

The new collaboration is a three-way effort between SignalRx Pharmaceuticals, a U.S.-based pharmaceutical company that is developing SF2523, Crystec Pharma — a crystal and particle engineering company based in the U.K. — and ADYA Consulting SAGL, a Swiss investment boutique in the life sciences sector.

Their partnership here will involve using Crystec’s technology to generate stable particles of the investigational therapy that are optimized for being inhaled in the form of a dry powder. Crystec’s modified supercritical antisolvent platform, or mSAS, generally allows for the creation of particles that are able to get deeper into the lungs than conventionally made particles.

ADYA, with its expertise in pharmaceutical preclinical and clinical program management, will provide additional support to help accelerate the development of the experimental therapy.

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“We are excited to combine the unique therapeutic potential of SF2523 with the cutting-edge inhaled delivery capabilities of Crystec,” Matt Williams, CEO of SignalRx, said in a press release.

“With support from ADYA, we hope to bring to the market a genuinely transformative drug for the treatment of lung cancer, fibrosis, as well as COVID-19 infection and its longer-term complications,” Williams said.

SF2523 is a new small molecule that works by blocking the activity of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) and bromodomain-containing protein 4 (BRD4), both of which are established drivers of fibrosis.

Both of these proteins are thought to be overly active in people with fibrotic lung diseases, such as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) and lung cancer.

Combining the effects of blocking both PI3K and BRD4 has shown promise in laboratory models of tumors and fibrosis, allowing higher doses to be given with a better tolerability profile.

In addition to its anti-fibrotic effects, studies performed in lab-grown cells have suggested that SF2523 can reduce the replication of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in a manner similar to the antiviral remdesivir.

Given the data to date, the three companies are therefore planning to develop SF2523 for the treatment of PF, lung cancer, and COVID-19.

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