Sydney-based Pharmaxis (ASX:PXS) has taken full scientific and commercial control of its collaboration with UK biotech company Synairgen.
The company said it has expanded the scientific program on LOXL2 inhibitors to maximise its value to potential partners and at the same time substantially increased its interest in the program in return for a payment of £5 million to Synairgen.
The LOXL2 enzyme is considered fundamental to the progression of fibrosis in the liver disease NASH, as well as fibrotic disease in organs such as the heart, kidney, and lung where idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) remains a high unmet need.
The collaboration between Pharmaxis and Synairgen commenced in August 2015 with the aim of developing and partnering a small molecule inhibitor of the LOXL2 enzyme at the end of phase 1 trials.
Pharmaxis said in a statement the LOXL2 inhibitor program has been the subject of discussions with large pharmaceuticals companies since the beginning of 2016. It said it expects that interest to intensify as the two compounds progress through phase 1 clinical trials and report in mid-2018.
"In parallel with the commencement of phase 1 clinical trials, Pharmaxis will therefore enable scientific due diligence of the program by select large Pharma companies interested in subsequent partnering discussions," it said.
Pharmaxis announced a number of changes to its collaboration with Synairgen, including increasing its share of any partnership deal for the LOXL2 program in fibrotic diseases to over 80 per cent and assuming full funding responsibility for the ongoing collaboration program. Synairgen has retained a reduced but fixed percentage share of all future partnering revenues.
According to Pharmaxis CEO, Gary Phillips, “I am delighted that Pharmaxis has taken control of this extremely promising clinical stage program. The collaboration with Synairgen in the program’s pre-clinical stage has served its purpose very well, however, the increased interest in NASH together with Pharmaxis’ progress over the last few years, its track record of delivering significant partnering deals and enhanced financial position, means we are now in a position to develop this product under our control with our own resources so that we can maximise shareholder value.”
Mr Phillips added, “Ongoing discussions with multinational Pharma companies suggest that there is a significant opportunity for an oral once a day LOXL2 inhibitor in a number of fibrotic diseases with a high unmet need. To realise that opportunity in a competitive market we need to deliver convincing proof of concept in multiple disease models and a phase 1/toxicology data package that both clears the phase 1 hurdle and makes this asset phase 2 ready. We will use our strong cash position to fully meet the needs of our potential partners. We are already making good on that promise by recently commencing phase 1 studies with two compounds that have different profiles that may lend themselves to different indications.”