DS Biopharma Spins Out New Company Focused on Fibrotic Conditions and Pulmonary Disorders

DS Biopharma Spins Out New Company Focused on Fibrotic Conditions and Pulmonary Disorders August 22, 2016
By Alex Keown, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff

DUBLIN – Privately-held DS Biopharma is spinning out a new company called Afimmune that is focused solely on fibrotic conditions such as non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and pulmonary disorders such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

Afimmune will focus on the development of the company’s anti-fibrotic and anti-inflammatory compound DS102. In May, DS Biopharma noted new data that showed the compound is sequestered in lung tissue and has bronchodilatory, anti-inflammatory and anti-fibrotic properties in the same tissue after oral administration. At the time, the Irish company announced clinical plans for the compound, including a Phase IIa clinical trial in COPD patients a Phase IIa study with DS102 in NASH patients later this year. When announcing the news, DS Biopharma said it was encouraged by the results the compound was showing in murine models. A Phase I trial showed DS102 was well-tolerated, the company said.

During an April abstract presentation at the European Association for the Study of the Liver, DS Biopharma noted DS102 has been proven to be anti-fibrotic and anti-inflammatory in vitro reducing key cytokines and fibrotic markers. Additionally, DS102 has shown significant reductions in NAFLD Activity Score (NAS) in a STAM model of NASH. DS102 also significantly reduced fibrosis, serum Alanine Aminotransferase (ALT) and Transforming Growth Factor beta (TGF-ß), the company said in the abstract report.

In addition to DS102, Afimmune will launch with several other compounds in pre-clinical development, the company said.

While Afimmune will focus on DS102, DS Biopharma will focus its developmental efforts on two compounds—DS107, an anti-inflammatory compound for atopic dermatitis and pruritus; and DS109 for other inflammatory skin disorders such as acne.

“By spinning out DS102 into a new company, DS Biopharma can direct its full attention to developing products for inflammatory skin conditions whereas Afimmune will focus on fibrotic conditions and pulmonary disorders,” John Climax, executive chairman of DS Biopharma said in a statement.

While DS Biopharma announced the launch of a new company, it did not provide any information about the structure of Afimmune, such as where it will be located, who will run the new company, how many employees it will have and how much financing the company has to fund its clinical programs.

In addition to DS Biopharma and now Afimmune, Climax is also the driving force behind ICON, one of the world’s biggest contract medical research companies, the Independent noted. ICON, which was founded in Dublin in 1990, specializes in the strategic development, management and analysis of programs that support clinical development—from compound selection to Phase I-IV clinical studies. In June, ICON acquired Clinical Research Management, Inc. to enhance ICON’s ability to access the market for government sponsored research and further enhances ICON’s capabilities in the areas of vaccines and infectious disease.

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