Cambridge, UK-based biopharma company Ario Pharma says it has acquired the TRPA1 antagonist research program previously owned by privately-held Italian firm PharmEste.
The acquired assets include a series of small molecule TRPA1 antagonists, patents, know-how and data that adds significantly to Ario Pharma’s existing TRPA1 chemistry portfolio. The TRPA1 target has been shown to have application across inflammatory diseases including asthma, cough, COPD and pain. No financial details of the transaction were revealed.
Seeking development partners
Ario Pharma is planning to undertake a TRPA1 lead optimization project, focusing on orally available TRPA1 antagonist small molecules for treatment of asthma. The chemistry from PharmEste has already demonstrated excellent in vivo efficacy in pain models. Ario Pharma is actively seeking partners for its TRPA1 program, for all indications.
There is a significant unmet need to provide an orally-available therapeutic for asthma, which offers both multiple-symptomatic relief and, most importantly, disease modification, for longer term control of the condition. TRPA1 has been shown to play a critical role in the pathophysiology of asthma and has the potential to address the underlying disease, effecting a major change in the success of therapy by acting early in the signalling cascade of both acute and chronic symptoms of asthma, says Ario.
John Ford, chief executive of Ario Pharma, commented: “This asset acquisition significantly strengthens Ario Pharma’s chemistry portfolio in the TRPA1 field and we plan to select one or more development candidates within the next 18 months. We are overcoming solubility and pharmacokinetic issues associated with historical TRPA1 modulators developed by other companies, and are excited by the level of target validation of TRPA1 in respiratory, pain and other inflammatory diseases.”