The biotechnology company Genoa Pharmaceuticals has entered a collaboration with Dr. Martin Kolb and researchers at McMaster University in the US to characterise the in vivo advantages and potential clinical impact of Genoa Pharmaceuticals' lead programme, inhaled GP-101 (aerosol pirfenidone) for the treatment of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF).
The research combines Genoa Pharmaceuticals' aerosol drug delivery expertise with McMaster University's expertise in exploring mechanisms of pulmonary fibrosis.
"Genoa is very excited about the opportunity to collaborate with Dr. Kolb and McMaster University to better understand how inhaled GP-101 may benefit IPF patients," said Mark Surber, PhD, Genoa's founder, president and chief scientific officer. "Genoa is committed to establishing academic relationships with leading institutions to further advance its efforts to develop novel treatments for IPF."
Genoa Pharmaceuticals, based in San Diego, announced on 8 November, 2012, the completion of a 1.2 million dollar financing of the GP-101 programme.
IPF is a fatal lung disease caused by both genetic and environmental factors resulting in progressive lung scarring and characterized by reduced exercise capacity and chronic cough. IPF affects approximately 200,000 Americans and 135,000 Europeans.
Genoa Pharmaceuticals was founded by Mark Surber, PhD, an aerosol development expert formerly with Mpex and Aires Pharmaceuticals. Dr. Surber currently serves as Genoa Pharmaceuticals’ President and Chief Scientific Officer. “IPF is a very serious disease with only 20% of patients surviving five years,” said Dr. Surber. “Currently, there are no US approved drugs, leaving lung transplant as the only option to extend life. Genoa’s approach could be a significant advancement to treat patients with this devastating disease and we are excited about the opportunity to progress GP-101 into development.”
Outside the US, only oral pirfenidone is approved for the treatment of IPF. Sold by InterMune (NASDAQ: ITMN) in Europe and Shionogi in Japan, this product has shown promise to extend life. However, the oral drug has been associated with gastrointestinal side effects that limit dosing and challenge patient compliance. To address this unmet need, Genoa Pharmaceuticals has created GP-101 as a proprietary aerosol pirfenidone formulation for direct inhalation delivery to the lung. Compared to the oral medicine, inhaled GP-101 delivers an increased pirfenidone lung dose with improved pharmacokinetic parameters. As inhalation delivers more pirfenidone directly to the lung with reduced gastrointestinal exposure, inhaled GP-101 has the potential to improve the efficacy and safety profile of pirfenidone.