One of Aberdeen’s most successful biotech companies has hailed a major milestone as it starts a clinical trial in the city.
NovaBiotics is testing its treatment for Cystic Fibrosis (CF), Lynovex, in 120 adult patients in Europe and the US including in Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.
The randomised, placebo-controlled double blind study follows promising preliminary trials which found the oral capsule version of the drug was safe and well tolerated by patients – and showed some improvement for the CF-sufferers.
The latest trial, the CARE-CF-1 clinical study, is designed to test how well the drug capsule treats “infectious exacerbations” of CF, a life-long condition affecting more than 10,800 people in the UK.
The inherited disease is caused by a defective gene which results in lungs, the digestive system and other tissues becoming congested with thick mucus. This can cause recurring infections and inflammation, reducing lung function further. NovaBiotic’s treatment is designed to tackle these problems through a “triple mode” of action – antibiotics for infection-causing pathogens, reducing thickness of mucus and “antibiofilm” – addressing the key challenge of mucus build up within the airways of CF patients.
The private equity-backed company is also working on an inhaled form of Lynovex which it expects to start testing in proof-of-concept clinical trials this year.
Dr Deborah O’Neil, chief executive of NovaBiotics, said: “Dosing the first patients with Lynovex in the CARE-CF-1 study is a significant milestone for the business.
“This trial marks an important step in a product candidate which has shown significant potential to mitigate the effects of, and the symptoms experienced during, CF infectious exacerbations.
“These episodes can have a permanent impact on the respiratory function of CF patients and, with Lynovex in tablet and inhaled form, we are part of the fight to lift the life-limiting restrictions that CF places on people with the condition; we are rigorously focused on harnessing our science and developing drugs so that people with CF live longer, better quality lives”.
The Craibstone-based Novabiotics is a spin-out from research at Aberdeen’s Rowett Institute. Founded by Ms O’Neill in 2004, the firm is advanced in developing antifungal and antibacterial therapeutics. The leading biotechnology business is backed by more than £17million in private-equity finance, including £5million from Woodford Investment Management.