- Focused on respiratory disease
- Two drug candidates, one being developed in-house the other by a partner
- Financially well set to progress its key asset, analyst says
Synairgen plc (LON:SNG) is currently running a two-part phase II trial evaluating SNG001. This is an inhaled interferon beta drug candidate designed for people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) who are also suffering cold or flu infections.
It has completed the first part of its SG015 study, assessing the safety of the treatment. The second instalment is underway at 15 separate sites. Synairgen expects the trial to continue into the 2019/20 peak period for cold and flu.
In the latest release (July 24) the company said it was making encouraging early progress with the phase II clinical trial.
Chief executive Richard Marsden said the company is “successfully capturing marked changes” in patients with COPD that also have the aforementioned viruses.
“We have previously shown that inhaled IFN-beta boosts the lungs' antiviral defences in COPD patients and the magnitude of the symptom changes being observed so far in the current trial puts us in a good position to determine the potential benefit of inhaled IFN-beta in this patient population," the Synairgen CEO added.
The company’s Australian partner has completed phase I trials and toxicology on a LOXL2 inhibitor developed by Synairgen.
This now paves the way for Pharmaxis to advance discussions with potential partners for the drug, which has been developed to treat non-alcoholic liver disease (NASH) and a rare lung condition.
The company retains a 17% “carried interest” in the asset.
Over the years, Synairgen has accumulated an extensive bank comprised of blood, sputum, nasal lavage, biopsies, bronchial epithelial cells and fibroblasts from volunteers with asthma or COPD. Using this resource, the company has developed a number of advanced tissue models.
It uses these models to:
• Discover novel drug targets
• Identify disease-related lesions and underlying molecular mechanisms
• Conduct proof of concept testing and validation of novel drug targets
• Conduct screening assays for novel drug targets and lead target selection
• Provide support for clinical trial activities
The company ended last year with £5.33mln in the bank, having raised £2.7mln.
What the broker says
Mark Brewer of small-cap specialist finnCap said in Feburary that year-end cash of £5.3mln was “sufficient to more than cover the cost of the ongoing phase IIa study of SNG001”. On the slower than expected sign-up rate for the trial, he added: “We are hugely reassured by the fact that all patients enrolled are virus-positive, which increases the probability of SNG001 showing a drug-related effect.”
Brewer’s price target for the stock is 54p. The shares are currently changing hands for 15p.