Investors working with Cystic Fibrosis Canada are helping to support a new clinical study by Laurent Pharmaceuticals into its first-in-class lipid modulator, LAU-7b, targeting the compromised immune-inflammatory response in cystic fibrosis (CF).
The financing will be used to prepare a Phase 2 clinical trial of LAU-7b in CF patients in both the United States and Canada.
LAU-7b, a novel formulation of fenretinide, is a daily oral medication intended to treat abnormal inflammatory responses to excessive and unresolved inflammation, one of the main causes of lung deterioration in CF. Pulmonary insufficiency remains the most common cause of death among people with the disease.
Fenretinide is a semi-synthetic retinoid, and an investigational drug demonstrated to be safe in both clinical and non-clinical studies. Moreover, in preclinical studies, it was shown that oral administration of fenretinide corrected lipid abnormalities in the lungs and plasma of certain animal models of CF. Such effects resulted in decreased lung inflammation and a significant decrease in the severity of pulmonary infections with Pseudomonas aeruginosa, the main infectious pathogen in CF.
A Phase 1b trial of LAU-7b, conducted in 2015, reported promising results in adult CF patients.
The financial support given Laurent, a Montreal-based biopharmaceutical company, came through Anges Québec, a network of 180 private investors established to fund and promote research and other enterprises within Quebec, and Aligo Innovation LP, a university research commercialization company.
“This funding has allowed us to make further progress in developing our product. Through their financial support, members of Anges Québec are investing not only in Laurent Pharmaceuticals, but in the treatment of cystic fibrosis,” Radu Pislariu, president and CEO of Laurent Pharmaceuticals, said in a press release.
“With the clinical development of fenretinide, the level of risk of the drug development has dropped significantly after being tested on thousands of mainly cancer patients, and after it received orphan status by the FDA,” added Marc LeBel, a member of Anges Québec.
CF is a fatal genetic disease that, according to the Cystic Fibrosis Canada, affects 1 in every 3,600 Canadian children.