Algernon Pharmaceuticals Inc (CSE:AGN) (OTCQB:AGNPF) revealed Tuesday that it has begun screening patients for enrolment in a Phase 2 clinical study of its NP-120 drug (Ifenprodil) as a potential treatment for patients with a type of lung disease called idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), which results in scarring of the lungs, and chronic cough.
The Vancouver-based clinical-stage pharmaceutical development company said there are five sites participating in the study with three located in Australia and two in New Zealand. All five sites have received ethics approval and have successfully completed their site initiation, the company said.
Algernon has decided to investigate Ifenprodil for both IPF and chronic cough after conducting several animal studies that showed the drug’s superior activity when compared with current standard treatments and a leading Phase 3 drug. The company pointed out that Ifenprodil is a N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NDMA) receptor antagonist “specifically targeting the NMDA-type subunit 2B.”
IPF animal study
According to Algernon, Ifenprodil showed superiority in reducing fibrosis over two globally approved therapies for IPF — Roche’s Pirfenidone and Boehringer Ingelheim’s Nintedanib — in a well-established in vivo animal model study.
Data from the study showed a 56% reduction in fibrosis versus untreated controls (p=0.015) in a 21-day bleomycin mouse model, where treatment began on Day 7.
Chronic cough animal study
Algernon also said that Ifenprodil outperformed Merck’s Phase 3 Drug MK-7264 (Gefapixant) in an acute cough study by 110%, in a well-accepted acute cough in-vivo animal study. Pharmidex, a contract research organization (CRO) and a global leader in respiratory research conducted the cough study using the guinea pig citric acid challenge model. Significantly, unlike Merck’s drug Gefapixant, Ifenprodil has “no known taste disturbance,” said the company.
“There has been a significant amount of news flow recently related to our Ifenprodil COVID clinical trial program,” Algernon Pharmaceuticals CEO Christopher J Moreau told investors in a statement.
“However, while this is still an important focus for the company, this is a very appropriate time to remind our shareholders that Ifenprodil was initially selected for advancement into a human clinical trial based on its strong animal data for IPF and chronic cough. These are also important areas with significant unmet clinical needs.”
The company said it would update the market when its first patient has been enrolled.
Shares in Toronto advanced nearly 15% to C$0.27
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