Synairgen plc (LON:SNG) shares jumped higher on Thursday after data from the ongoing phase II study of its SNG001 drug suggested it is having the desired effect in boosting the antiviral defences of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) sufferers.
In late afternoon, Synairgen shares were up 13% at 16.7p.
Researchers are investigating whether the inhaled interferon beta treatment can better protect those with COPD from the exacerbating effects of illnesses such as flu and the common cold.
The mid-stage trial, called SG015, is taking place in two parts. This initial stage involves dosing ten people who have no evidence of viral infection to examine levels of antiviral biomarkers in response to the drug.
Synairgen wants to show that SNG001 can boost antiviral defences in the lung to prevent viruses spreading from the upper respiratory tract (nose, mouth and throat).
So far that seems to be what’s happening, with patients inhaling the drug seeing a “significantly higher” number of Mx1 and OAS1 antiviral genes.
Anti-viral activity boosted
“These biomarker data support the proposed mechanism of action, showing that anti-viral activity was boosted by SNG001,” said Synairgen founder Stephen Holgate.
“Similar changes in biomarkers (Mx1 and OAS1) translated into improvements in lung function and reduced symptoms in phase II trials in asthma.”
He added: “As SNG001 has been found to be well tolerated in COPD and the impact of colds is more frequent and greater in COPD patients than in asthma, these results greatly increase our confidence in the potential for SNG001 to provide clinical benefit in the second part of this trial, where we will look at the effects of treatment in patients with a confirmed respiratory virus infection.”
Part two to begin this winter
The second part of the trial is designed to measure what Synairgen describes as “efficacy endpoints” and biomarker levels in patients with a respiratory virus.
A total of 80 patients will take part, receiving either SNG001 or a placebo that has no medical impact on the person receiving it.
Following the recent safety data, the Drug Safety Monitoring Committee has given Synairgen the thumbs-up to go ahead with part two, which is scheduled to cover the 2018/19 winter cold virus season.
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