---ADDS CHAIRMAN COMMENTS---
ImmuPharma (LON:IMM) has begun dosing patients as part of the phase III clinical trial of its lead drug candidate Lupuzor for the life-threatening autoimmune disease Lupus.
This is a major milestone for the company, which has the chance to take the compound from discovery right the way through to the market.
Patients will receive the treatment at the US sites opened last December.
In all trials will take place across 45 locations – 10 in America, the rest in Europe.
A “delighted” ImmuPharma chairman Tim McCarthy told investors: “With recruitment going to plan, we look forward to providing further positive updates on this Lupuzor phase-III study as it progresses throughout this year and 2017.”
Lupuzor has "blockbuster" potential, which means, under the pharma industry's own definition, a drug that could generate US$1bn or more a year in revenue, so it's probably worth looking now at what Lupus is and who is affected by it.
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) is a debilitating and painful disease, which sees the body's immune system turn against itself for reasons still not fully understood.
It can affect various organs in various people in various ways so many symptoms can ensue, which calls for treatment from heart, liver and skin specialists.
It is much more common in women, appears most often in African-Americans, Asians and Hispanics and it is estimated that up to five million individuals worldwide may be affected.
The company does not claim Lupuzor is a cure but it hopes it will offer significant relief to sufferers such that their quality of life is greatly improved.
It is also thought to work better than other products available, such as Glaxo's Benlysta, as it interacts with the body in a "different way" and at a "higher level" and also offers fewer side-effects.
In all, 200 Lupus sufferers will be brought on board at least by the end of 2016, and the aim is to complete the phase III trial by the end of 2017. Then the commercialisation process and all-important sales start coming into view.
Chairman McCarthy told Proactive Investors the European sites will be “opened in the next few weeks”, although the formal announcement will be made to the market.
“The fact we are on schedule is very good news,” he added.
Earlier this month the company said it was raising £8.3mln and investors will meet next week to sign off the package. The new shares will begin trading on February 25.
Before that - on Thursday (Feb 18) - investors will have the opportunity to catch up with chairman McCarthy at Proactive’s One2One Forum at Chesterfield Hotel, In London’s Mayfair.
For more information click this link.