Novoclem Therapeutics, which is developing nitric oxide-releasing compounds that fight infections in cystic fibrosis and other respiratory diseases, has named five inaugural members of its scientific advisory board.
They are Dr. Donald VanDevanter, adjunct professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine; Dr. Felix Ratjen, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Toronto; Dr. John LiPuma, a medical professor at the University of Michigan; Dr. Mike Knowles, a medical professor at the University of North Carolina; and Dr. Scott Donaldson, an associate medical professor at the University of North Carolina.
Novoclem said the board will be a key strategic resource as it continues to develop technology against bacteria that infect CF patients’ lungs. These include antibiotic-resistant strains of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which is present in the lungs of nearly 60 percent of patients, and Mycobacterium abscessus, a growing threat to those with CF.
Novoclem’s said its lead therapy candidate, a nitric oxide-releasing biopolymer, can eliminate nine of the most prevalent microorganisms responsible for severe lung infections in CF. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration considers the nine a threat to public health, according to a company report.
The biodegradable compound delivers nitric oxide while eradicating multiple strains of drug-resistant bacteria and altering the properties of mucus in airways. Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disease that causes sticky, thick mucus to build up in the lungs, facilitating the growth of bacteria there.
Nitric oxide is an important player in our immune system’s response against disease-causing microorganisms. It also helps regulate inflammatory processes.
Novoclem’s nitric oxide-releasing biopolymer can regulate both the immune system and inflammation.
The company plans to submit an investigational new drug application for the therapy to the FDA and to start clinical trials of it in 2018.
The knowledge and experience that the scientific advisory board members “bring to Novoclem is invaluable as we move our first product forward into clinical development next year,”Anne Whitaker, president and chief executive officer of Novoclem Therapeutics, said in a press release. The board will help the company develop plans for additional treatments as well, she added.
“The core of Novoclem’s commercialization efforts is our broadly applicable nitric oxide biopolymer platform that facilitates the development of inhaled antimicrobial, mucolytic and anti-inflammatory therapies,” said Dr. Mark Schoenfisch, Novoclem’s chief scientific officer. “The addition of expert clinicians to our team further positions Novoclem to achieve our goal of leading a new fight for cystic fibrosis patients, enabling them to breathe better and live the life they desire.”