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Lots of potential for Synairgen in fibrosis, suggests broker finncap

A Phase I clinical trial is to start later this year for the LOXL-2 inhibitor
picture of doctor
IPF causes scar tissue to build on lungs

Synairgen (LON:SNG) can build on encouraging pre-clinical results for its fibrosis treatment PXS-5382A says Finncap.

The group has confirmed a Phase I clinical trial is to start later this year for the LOXL-2 inhibitor, which is being developed in partnership with Australian firm Pharmaxis (ASX:PXS).

Management also disclosed significant interest already from numerous potential partners active and involved in R&D within this space and the potential within the NASH (liver) and IPF (lung) orphan drug space is huge

The broker added that it will update its numbers once Synairgen's management has completed its analysis of the trial data for interferon beta inhaler INEXAS (or AZD9412), a drug that was being developed with AstraZeneca until last year.

Lung fibrosis a killer

IPF (idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis) causes a build-up of scar tissue, which damages the structure of the lung and affects normal uptake of oxygen into the blood. 

The resultant stiffening of the lungs makes it increasingly difficult to breathe. 

Lab work involving lysyl oxidase-like 2 enzyme inhibitors (LOXL2) has already indicated lower tissue stiffness of around 50%.

This latest research also suggests that that oral administration of one of these compounds significantly inhibited cross-link formation, reduced fibrosis score and improved lung function.

Richard Marsden, Synairgen's cheif executive, said: “The effect of these inhibitors across different model types is very exciting, suggesting that inhibition of LOXL2 has the potential to improve lung function in severely ill patients with lung fibrosis by reducing tissue stiffness.”

IPF kills within 2-3 years and affects 132,000 people in the US, with currently available treatments generating revenues of around US$1bn, though the whole are of fibrosis market if liver disease included might eventually be worth over US$30bn according to some analysts.

Timetable points to mid-2018 as key point

Results from PXS-5382A's Phase I trial are scheduled for the middle of 2018, after which the aim is to find a partner to license the drug due to size of the potential market and number of indications it could address.

WATCH: Synairgen's chief hails exciting IPF data from LOXL2 inhibitor programme

“PXS-5382A is a very valuable candidate with potential applications in a number of fibrotic conditions with very substantial market opportunities,” said Marsden.

"The effect of this novel inhibitor across different model types is very exciting, with the latest supporting data suggesting that PXS-5382A can significantly reduce lung fibrosis and therefore has the potential to improve lung function in severely ill patients.”

Data from AstraZeneca trial expected

The final assessment of the Phase II trial of interferon beta should also be released at some point this year.

Last October, FTSE 100-listed AstraZeneca halted work on the phase IIa clinical trial after it struggled to find enough hard-to-treat cases among asthma sufferers.

At the time, Synairgen said that based on the biomarker, lung function and safety data, it may be developed to treat lung diseases where viral infections are a real problem, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) though first management wanted to see the data from the AZ study of asthma patients.

"We remain positive about the potential of inhaled interferon beta, particularly for patients with COPD who suffer due to respiratory viruses,” said Marsden.

“Once we have completed the data analysis, we will provide an update on the programme and our plans for future development."

Shares rose 10% to 7.7p.


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