Signal Rx Pharmaceuticals, Crystec and ADYA are working on a dry powder drug formulation for potentially treating COVID-19-related illness.
The three companies’ collaboration for the dry powder formulation of SF2523 covers the treatment of pulmonary fibrosis, lung cancer and illnesses related to SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing COVID-19.
SignalRx’s SF2523 is a novel, small-molecule, dual PI3K-BRD4 inhibitor with a synergistic action on two pathways associated with the development of lung cancer and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). The combination inhibition of both pathways maximizes cellular effects in tumor and fibrosis models, enabling higher dosing with improved tolerability, according to a news release.
“SignalRx has been on quest to create unique and novel approaches to treat cancer,” said Guillermo A. Morales, SignalRx’s chief scientific officer. “We conceived SF2523 as part of our approach to create a drug that acts like multiple drugs at once but doesn’t suffer from multiple additive side effects.”
The company reports that SF2523 is a small molecule that acts like two drugs. It was “originally intended to help patients suffering from cancer,” Morales said. “However, the versatility of this molecule also shows promise for the treatment of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) and COVID-19, as well as the possibility of many others.”
There are few treatment options available for IPF. “Moreover, their side effects are of such magnitude that only 60% of IPF patients can tolerate these drugs, leaving 40% of patients without options,” Morales said. “SF2523 acts on multiple key cellular mechanisms delivering beneficial therapeutic synergies, while also limiting undesirable side effects.” The company believes SF2523 is well positioned to meet the unmet IPF need, and “it’s uniquely positioned to help patients with cancer and COVID-19 as well,” Morales said. “The patients are desperate for a better drug and we want to give them the help they deserve.”
Recent in-vitro studies demonstrated promise in SF2523 as an anti-viral for treating COVID-19 as the therapeutic blocks two orthogonal pathways necessary for SARS-CoV-2 pathogenesis in human cells, achieving a reduction in virus replication comparable to Remdesivir from Gilead Sciences.
The collaboration will result in Crystec using its mSAS (modified supercritical antisolvent) supercritical fluid particle engineering platform to develop solid-state control of SF2523 along with stable particles that are optimized for dry powder inhaled delivery.
ADYA, with its expertise in pharmaceutical pre-clinical and clinical program management, will provide support across the development process in the collaboration.
“We are excited to combine the unique therapeutic potential of SF2523 with the cutting-edge inhaled delivery capabilities of Crystec,” SignalRx CEO Matt Williams said in the release. “With support from ADYA, we hope to bring to the market a genuinely transformative drug for the treatment of lung cancer, fibrosis, as well as COVID-19 infection and its longer-term complications.”