AstraZeneca has entered into a licensing agreement with Redx Pharma for RXC006, an oral, small molecule preclinical porcupine inhibitor. The Company will take the molecule forward into clinical development targeting fibrotic diseases, including idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), a chronic, progressive, irreversible and usually fatal, interstitial lung disease,1 for which there are limited treatment options available.
Porcupine inhibition is a potential novel approach to target fibrotic pathways earlier compared with other mechanisms in development for IPF.
Mene Pangalos, Executive Vice President, BioPharmaceuticals R&D, AstraZeneca said: “Fibrotic diseases such as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis have significant impact on patients’ lives and new therapies are urgently needed. We look forward to progressing this porcupine inhibitor into clinical trials as a novel approach to supress Wnt signalling and potentially modify fibrotic disease processes.”
Lisa Anson, Chief Executive Officer, Redx Pharma, commented: “We are excited by the potential of porcupine inhibition as a novel approach to tackling fibrotic-associated diseases where there is a real patient need. This agreement, where AstraZeneca will license this first-in-class porcupine inhibitor for IPF and progress it into development, highlights, once again, Redx’s ability to generate molecules that have significant potential as novel medicines.”
RXC006 has the potential to slow or prevent fibrosis in IPF and potentially other fibrotic diseases. The Company anticipates entering clinical development in 2021.
IPF causes shortness of breath and progressive damage of the lung, resulting in life-threatening complications such as respiratory failure. IPF progression varies greatly between patients but over time, most experience increasing respiratory symptoms, increased scarring of the lungs and a gradual decline in lung function. ‘Idiopathic’ refers to the unknown cause of disease, however there is proof of genetic predisposition in some patients.1
RXC006 and porcupine inhibition
In animal models of kidney, liver and lung fibrosis, RXC006 showed inhibition of the porcupine enzyme resulting in anti-fibrotic effects.2 Porcupine inhibition is a novel anti-fibrotic approach that suppresses Wnt ligand secretion from profibrotic cells. Wnt ligands regulate multiple aspects of disease biology and are highly expressed in diseases such as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.
AstraZeneca (LSE/STO/NYSE: AZN) is a global, science-led biopharmaceutical company that focuses on the discovery, development and commercialisation of prescription medicines, primarily for the treatment of diseases in three therapy areas - Oncology, CVRM, and Respiratory & Immunology. Based in Cambridge, UK, AstraZeneca operates in over 100 countries and its innovative medicines are used by millions of patients worldwide. For more information, please visit astrazeneca.com and follow the Company on Twitter @AstraZeneca.
1. Lederer, D J and Martinez F J. Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis. N Engl J Med. 2018;378:1811-23.
2. Redx website: https://www.redxpharma.com/programmes/rxc006-porcupine-fibrosis/