Nyrada, a subsidiary company of Noxopharm, discovered a set of novel compounds that can cross the blood-brain barrier and blood-nerve barriers, and inhibit a master regulator of chronic inflammation in autoimmunity called IRAK4.
The Australian company believes that these novel IRAK4 inhibitors may represent an alternative strategy to prevent inflammation linked to multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and peripheral neuropathies.
Pre-clinical studies have been initiated in a fast-track mode to identify the therapeutic indications for which the inhibitors hold the greatest potential. Clinical human studies are expected to begin in 2020.
The company also recently submitted a U.S. provisional patent application and a Patent Cooperative Treaty (PCT) patent application to protect its rights over the new IRAK4 inhibitors.
“A lot of attention currently is being given to developing IRAK4 inhibitors for diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and gouty arthritis and lupus, but we see our discovery as a breakthrough in providing the tools needed to address inflammatory and autoimmune diseases of the nervous system,” James Bonnar, vice-president, research and development at Nyrada, said in a press release.
IRAK4 is a critical modulator of the activity of some cells involved in the body’s innate immune system. Faulty IRAK4 behavior is believed to promote the development of many forms of chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.
In the past few years, several companies have demonstrated increasing interest in developing IRAK4 inhibitors. These small molecules compounds have been found to hold therapeutic potential in several animal models in a broad range of conditions, from inflammation-related disorders in multiple organ types, to anti-fibrosis, and cancer.
Other companies are exploring the effectiveness of such compounds to treat chronic diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, lupus, and psoriasis.
While Nyrada’s novel IRAK4 inhibitors hold the potential to treat the same broad range of conditions being explored by others, the company believes their key strength lies in the treatment of inflammatory diseases of the central nervous system and peripheral nerves, especially because their compounds can cross the barriers that prevent most drugs from entering the brain and peripheral nerves.
“[This family of IRAK4 inhibitors] represents a realistic prospect for finally being able to provide treatment for a number of insidious diseases affecting the nervous system which have defied successful management to date,” said Graham Kelly, CEO of Noxopharm.
“Having a drug that blocks IRAK4 and all its downstream pro-inflammatory cytokine [signaling] effects, combined with its ability to reach the brain in sufficient levels, is an exciting breakthrough that has resulted from a lot of hard work by a team of Australian chemists and scientists,” Kelly added.