As well as the cash, Synairgen will also receive 17% of all partnering proceeds for Pharmaxis’ LOXL2 development pipeline in all fibrotic indications, including NASH, IPF, heart and kidney – significant areas of interest from large pharma.
The broker adds that Synairgen will also be able to explore other opportunities in which it can use its respiratory models to generate incremental value for shareholders, in the same way that it has shown for the LOXL2 programme.
The two companies have been collaborating on the development of a Lysyl Oxidase type 2 (LOXL2) inhibitor (PXS-5382) to treat lung and liver fibrosis.
Richard Marsden, Synairgen’s chief executive, said the new terms give it the opportunity to benefit from a partnership across a whole range of fibrosis-focused treatments.
“Having previously been focused toward a lung-related partnering transaction, this change in terms enables Synairgen to benefit significantly from any licence(s) in the non-lung related fibrosis arena."
Under the revised terms, Pharmaxis will take on full operational responsibilities for the programme, including the ongoing Phase I trial of PXS-5382.
Pharmaxis is independently developing a second treatment to cover multiple fibrotic conditions and Marsden said it made sense to have a single point of focus in any partnering discussions.
The Aussie firm has already negotiated one major partnership with Boehringer Ingelheim for a compound for liver complaint non-alcoholic steatohepatitis or NASH.
Marsden added: "Under the existing collaboration, Synairgen generated excellent data to support progression in the rare fibrotic lung disease idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) and Pharmaxis has focused on the potentially larger indications of liver fibrosis (including non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH)), cardiac fibrosis and kidney fibrosis.
“As we draw nearer to an optimal point for partnering the programme, it is more effective and should be more value enhancing to hand all control of the development to Pharmaxis to enable a single point of focus for multi-indication partnering discussions.”
Timetable points to mid-2018 as key point
Results from PXS-5382A's Phase I trial are scheduled for the middle of 2018, after which the aim is to find a partner to license the drug due to size of the potential market and number of indications it could address.
“PXS-5382A is a very valuable candidate with potential applications in a number of fibrotic conditions with very substantial market opportunities,” said Marsden.
"The effect of this novel inhibitor across different model types is very exciting, with the latest supporting data suggesting that PXS-5382A can significantly reduce lung fibrosis and therefore has the potential to improve lung function in severely ill patients.”
Data from AstraZeneca trial expected
The final assessment of the Phase II trial of interferon beta should also be released at some point this year.
Last October, FTSE 100-listed AstraZeneca halted work on the Phase IIa clinical trial after it struggled to find enough hard-to-treat cases among asthma sufferers.
At the time, Synairgen said that based on the biomarker, lung function and safety data, it may be developed to treat lung diseases where viral infections are a real problem, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) though first management wanted to see the data from the AZ study of asthma patients.
"We remain positive about the potential of inhaled interferon beta, particularly for patients with COPD who suffer due to respiratory viruses,” said Marsden.
“Once we have completed the data analysis, we will provide an update on the programme and our plans for future development."