PRINCETON, N.J., Sept. 6, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Soligenix, Inc. (OTCQB: SNGX) (Soligenix or the Company), a development stage biopharmaceutical company, announced today that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has completed its review and cleared the Investigational New Drug (IND) application for SGX203 (oral beclomethasone 17,21-dipropionate or oral BDP) for the induction treatment of pediatric Crohn's disease. Soligenix has previously received Orphan Drug Designation for oral BDP as a treatment for pediatric Crohn's Disease.
Clearance of the IND allows Soligenix to initiate a Phase 1/2 pharmacokinetic (PK)/pharmacodynamic (PD) study of SGX203 in healthy adolescents and young adults. The PK/PD data from this study will help inform dose selection for subsequent Phase 2/3 clinical studies. The trial is expected to be initiated in 2012.
"We are very excited to begin the clinical development of SGX203 which we believe may prove to have significant advantages relative to systemic steroids such as prednisone, which are currently administered to the vast majority of newly diagnosed pediatric Crohn's disease patients," stated Kevin Horgan, MD, Senior Vice President & Chief Medical Officer of Soligenix. "Our proprietary two-tablet system with immediate and delayed release capabilities allows for comprehensive treatment of a patient's disease regardless of its location in the gastrointestinal tract."
About Pediatric Crohn's Disease
Crohn's disease is an ongoing disorder that causes inflammation of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Crohn's disease can affect any area of the GI tract, from the mouth to the anus, but it most commonly affects the lower part of the small intestine, called the ileum. The swelling caused by the disease extends deep into the lining of the affected organ. The swelling can induce pain and can make the intestines empty frequently, resulting in diarrhea. Because the symptoms of Crohn's disease are similar to other intestinal disorders, such as irritable bowel syndrome and ulcerative colitis, it can be difficult to diagnose. People of Ashkenazy Jewish heritage have an increased risk of developing Crohn's disease.
Crohn's disease can appear at any age, but it is most often diagnosed in adults in their 20s and 30s. However, approximately 30% of people with Crohn's disease develop symptoms before 20 years of age. Pediatric Crohn's disease is a subpopulation of approximately 80,000 patients 0-19 years of age in the United States. Crohn's disease tends to be both severe and extensive in the pediatric population and a relatively high proportion (25-40%) of pediatric Crohn's patients have involvement of their upper gastrointestinal tract.
Crohn's disease presents special challenges for children and teens. In addition to bothersome and often painful symptoms, the disease can stunt growth, delay puberty, and weaken bones. Crohn's disease symptoms may sometimes prevent a child from participating in enjoyable activities. The emotional and psychological issues of living with a chronic disease such as Crohn's can be especially difficult for young people.
SGX203 contains BDP, a highly potent, topically active corticosteroid that has a local effect on inflamed tissue. BDP has been marketed in the United States and worldwide since the early 1970s as the active pharmaceutical ingredient in inhalation products for the treatment of patients with allergic rhinitis and asthma. SGX203 is a two tablet delivery system of BDP specifically designed for oral use that allows for delivery of BDP throughout the small bowel and the colon. The FDA has awarded SGX203 Orphan Drug Designation for the treatment of pediatric Crohn's disease.
About Soligenix, Inc.
Soligenix is a development stage biopharmaceutical company developing products to treat life-threatening side effects of cancer treatments and serious gastrointestinal diseases, and vaccines for certain bioterrorism agents. Soligenix's lead product, orBec® (oral beclomethasone dipropionate), is a potent, locally acting corticosteroid that has been initially developed for the treatment of gastrointestinal Graft-versus-Host disease (GI GVHD), a common and potentially life-threatening complication of hematopoietic cell transplantation. Soligenix is also developing proprietary formulations of oral BDP for the prevention/treatment of gastrointestinal disorders characterized by severe inflammation, including pediatric Crohn's disease (SGX203) and acute radiation enteritis (SGX201), which is the subject of a recently completed National Cancer Institute (NCI)-supported Phase 1/2 clinical trial.
Through its BioDefense Division, Soligenix is developing countermeasures pursuant to the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) Strategic Plan of 2011-2016 for inclusion in the US government's Strategic National Stockpile. Soligenix's lead biodefense products in development are a recombinant subunit vaccine called RiVax, which is designed to protect against the lethal effects of exposure to ricin toxin and VeloThrax, a vaccine against anthrax exposure. RiVax has been shown to be well tolerated and immunogenic in two Phase 1 clinical trials in healthy volunteers. Both RiVax and VeloThrax are currently the subject of a $9.4 million National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) grant supporting development of Soligenix's new vaccine heat stabilization technology known as ThermoVax. Soligenix is also developing OrbeShield for the treatment of gastrointestinal acute radiation syndrome (GI ARS) under a $600,000 NIAID Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant. OrbeShield has previously demonstrated statistically significant preclinical survival results in two separate canine GI ARS studies funded by the NIH.
For further information regarding Soligenix, Inc., please visit the Company's website at www.soligenix.com.
This press release contains forward-looking statements that reflect Soligenix, Inc.'s current expectations about its future results, performance, prospects and opportunities. Statements that are not historical facts, such as "anticipates," "believes," "intends," or similar expressions, are forward-looking statements. These statements are subject to a number of risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual events or results in future periods to differ materially from what is expressed in, or implied by, these statements. Soligenix cannot assure you that it will be able to successfully develop or commercialize products based on its technology, particularly in light of the significant uncertainty inherent in developing vaccines against bioterror threats, manufacturing and conducting preclinical and clinical trials of vaccines, and obtaining regulatory approvals, that product development and commercialization efforts will not be reduced or discontinued due to difficulties or delays in clinical trials or due to lack of progress or positive results from research and development efforts, that it will be able to successfully obtain any further grants and awards, maintain its existing grants which are subject to performance, enter into any biodefense procurement contracts with the US Government or other countries, or that the US Congress may not pass any legislation that would provide additional funding for the Project BioShield program. These and other risk factors are described from time to time in filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including, but not limited to, Soligenix's reports on Forms 10-Q and 10-K. Unless required by law, Soligenix assumes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements as a result of new information or future events.
SOURCE Soligenix, Inc.