Novan, Inc. recently announced positive results of the company’s preclinical study investigating the efficacy of its lead nitric oxide-releasing candidate, SB414, in treating psoriasis.
Nitric oxide is a gas that is produced naturally in the body and plays a key role in the natural immune system’s response against microbial pathogens. Moreover, it is capable of regulating features of the immune system response, such as inflammation.
The drug candidate was shown to reduce pro-inflammatory cytokines (released by cells of the immune system and its secretion influences the behavior of other cells) such as interleukin-17 (IL-17), in a psoriasis mouse model, as well as reduction of psoriasis scores. IL-17 is increasingly recognized to have a role in several inflammatory skin disorders, including psoriasis.
“The evidence of clinical trials to date has shown a clear link between IL-17 inhibition and improved clinical outcomes for patients with psoriasis,” Bruce Strober, MD, board-certified dermatologist, professor of dermatology, department chair and director of clinical trials at the University of Connecticut, said in a press release. “The broader connection of IL-17 to multiple inflammatory skin disorders would seem to suggest a novel approach for clinical developers and new hope for patients suffering from these diseases.”
“These data represent a significant advancement of Novan’s platform, not only for the treatment of psoriasis, but also for the treatment of several other inflammatory skin diseases,” said Nathan Stasko, PhD, president and chief executive officer of Novan. “Biologics have shown dramatic effect against psoriasis in clinical trials, but carry a risk-benefit profile that has reserved their use for patients with moderate-to-severe disease, or approximately 20% of the total psoriasis patient population. The newer biologics that target IL-17, such as secukinumab and ixekizumab, have dramatically elevated the field’s understanding of the disease pathology and clinical outcomes for patients,” Stasko said. “We believe that a topical treatment utilizing Novan’s nitric oxide-releasing technology may be able to disrupt the propagation of IL-17 locally in the skin and deliver clinical benefit without the systemic exposure and side effects of biologics. This is an exciting opportunity, and as a result we plan to accelerate clinical development of SB414,” he added.
Novan, Inc. is a clinical-stage drug development company, focusing on the development and commercialization of nitric oxide-based therapies in dermatology.
The positive results obtained in this preclinical study has prompted Novan, Inc. to launch a Phase 2 proof-of-concept trial of SB414 as a topical treatment for psoriasis in 2017.