DS Biopharma of Dublin, Ireland, announced the launch of a spinoff company, Afimmune, to focus on pulmonary disorders like COPD and fibrotic conditions such as NASH.
Fibrosis means the development of fibrous connective scar tissue created in response to injury or damage. Fibrotic diseases are conditions in which fibrosis occurs, such as liver cirrhosis or non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). They also affect the lungs, including pulmonary fibrosis (PF), COPD, and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF).
Afimmune will continue the clinical development of DS102, a novel, anti-fibrotic compound for the potential treatment of COPD, NASH , and IPF.
DS Biopharma, a private drug discovery and development company with a proprietary bioactive lipid technology platform, announced in May the company’s plans to develop its anti-fibrotic, anti-inflammatory compound DS102 for the treatment of COPD and NASH patients.
At the time, data suggested that DS102 was significantly sequestered in lung tissue and had bronchodilatory, anti-inflammatory, and anti-fibrotic properties after oral administration.
“The company is very encouraged by the potential utility of DS102 both in NASH and in pulmonary disorders such as COPD and IPF,” said DS Biopharma’s then-CEO John Climax. He is now executive chairman of the company.
Now, a Phase 2a study with DS102 is planned to begin later this year to test the compound’s effectiveness in NASH patients, as well as a Phase 2a clinical trial in COPD patients following positive preclinical studies. A Phase 1 trial demonstrated the treatment was safe and well-tolerated.
Afimmune also has a series of other compounds in preclinical development.
“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,” Climax said in a press release.
DS Biopharma will now be able to focus on the development of DS107, an anti-inflammatory product for atopic dermatitis and pruritus, and DS109, to treat other skin disorders like acne.