Unmet Need in Severe Asthma
According to a 2011 National Health Interview Survey, over 18.9 million adults and 7.1 million children suffer from asthma in the U.S. alone. Of those diagnosed with asthma, approximately 5 – 10% of patients suffer from what is characterized as severe asthma. Although severe asthma affects only a minority of asthma sufferers, it accounts for the majority of the medical costs associated with asthma treatment due to the use of more expensive drugs and higher rates of hospitalization. Effective treatment of severe asthma is a major unmet need because patients’ symptoms are not efficiently controlled with currently available therapies. What is required is a new drug that doesn’t only treat symptoms, but attacks the underlying cause of the disease.
The Path to a Game Changer: SX-682
The result of a decade’s long development campaign, SX-682 is a new oral drug therapy for severe asthma that attacks the disease by blocking neutrophil migration to the lungs of patients through allosteric inhibition of CXCR1/2 chemokine receptors on the inside surface of neutrophil cell membranes (see below).
Neutrophils are a type of white blood cell that migrate to, and infiltrate the lungs of severe asthma patients. Neutrophils are thought to be key players in allergen-induced exacerbation and lung destruction in severe asthma. SX-682 thus targets a critical unmet need in severe asthma by actually targeting the underlying pathologic mechanism of the disease: inflammation. The blockade of neutrophil migration by SX-682 is exceedingly long-lasting, supporting once-daily and potentially less frequent administration. SX-682 is a game changer in severe asthma in terms of its potential to reduce exacerbations and lung damage prevention. No marketed treatment for asthma works using the same mechanism as SX-682.
The Market for SX-682 in Severe Asthma
The global asthma market was approximately $14.4 billion in 2010, and is forecast to grow to $20.6 billion by 2018. Advair®, a leading therapy for the treatment of both asthma and COPD, had US sales of $4.98 billion in 2013. SX-682 treats severe asthma by a novel mechanism of blocking neutrophil migration to the lungs that no marketed treatment utilizes. SX-682 is thus a completely novel approach to treating severe asthma, and if proven to reduce the frequency and severity of exacerbations and inhibit the functional decline of lungs, would be expected to be central in the treatment of the disease.
The Potential for SX-682 in Other Diseases
SX-682 targets a fundamental process applicable to other inflammatory diseases that include COPD, ulcerative colitis, cystic fibrosis and psoriasis.
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health, is researching potential treatments for severe asthma. This video features an interview with Dr. Stewart Lavine, an NHLBI researcher, who is conducting a clinical study to test new treatment options for patients who live with severe asthma.
Neutrophils, a type of white blood cell or leukocyte, are key players in asthma pathology. This video shows how these cells reach their destination in the lung through a process of rolling, chemokine activation (e.g. CXCR1/2, a G protein coupled receptor), adhesion and translocation (together extravasation).