World-first trial for Australian company Pharmaxis

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Pharmaxis (ASX:PSX) has announced a partnership to launch a world-first clinical trial that aims to stop scars from forming after trauma, particularly following burn injuries.

The company is partnering with distinguished surgeon and burns expert Professor Fiona Wood AM who is leading a group of researchers from the University of Western Australia (UWA) and Fiona Stanley Hospital to test a treatment in the first human trials.

Pharmaxis said its discovery, known as PXS‐6302, has shown promising pre‐clinical results in inhibiting the enzymes that play a critical role in the development of scar tissue.

PXS‐6302 was discovered by the company's researchers at its laboratories in Sydney.

The trial will determine the safety and tolerability of the product in healthy volunteers. This could lead to further trials in burns and surgical patients.

Skin scarring after events such as accidents, surgery or burns places a substantial physical and psychological burden on patients.

Professor Wood said, “It’s exciting for the research team to explore a novel path to reduce scarring and to be moving closer to that goal. Scar‐less healing is the vision that has motivated our work over many decades.”

Dr Kylie Sandy‐Hodgetts, a senior research fellow at the School of Biomedical Sciences, UWA, said, “Current treatments aim to rectify the scar in the acute phase such as during wound healing and scar maturation through options such as compression therapy, silicone gel sheeting or when the scar is established by cryotherapy, scar revision or laser with limited outcomes at times.

"This new compound may potentially avoid the need for invasive procedures such as further surgery or laser procedures.” 

Pharmaxis CEO Gary Phillips said the company was very pleased to see its expertise in fibrosis being applied to help patients with scarring.

“We have had a long and productive collaboration with researchers at UWA and this important trial of our drug PXS‐6302 will establish whether the remarkable results seen in the pre‐clinical models can be replicated in patients.

“Scarring can have a devastating and life‐long impact on people who have suffered traumatic injuries. A topical cream to reduce scarring would have a significant role in treatment with broad application in the hospital and community medical settings,” said Mr Phillips.