Clinical stage Canadian drug development company Algernon Pharmaceuticals (CSE: AGN) will present the results of a phase 2a study into NP-120 (Ifenprodil) for the treatment of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) and chronic cough at next year’s American Cough Conference.
Ifenprodil is an N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist targeting the NMDA-type subunit 2B (GluN2B), which prevents glutamate signalling.
It represents a novel first-in-class treatment for IPF and chronic cough.
The American Cough Conference is a biennial educational forum for health care professionals involved in cough research and management.
Conference chair Dr Peter Dicpinigaitis welcomed Algernon’s findings.
“I am pleased that Algernon has accepted our invitation to present at this conference,” he said.
“The NMDA receptor is a fascinating target, and I am excited about [Ifenprodil’s] potential for cough in IPF, and also for the wider refractory chronic cough population.”
Algernon is a medical re-purposing company which investigates already-approved drugs for new disease applications – moving them efficiently and safely into new human trials.
The company specifically investigates compounds, which have never been approved in the US or Europe to avoid off-label prescription writing.
Its process involves developing new formulations and seeking new regulatory approvals in global markets.
Last month, Algernon released additional data from its phase 2a study of Ifenprodil which showed the drug was much more effective in reducing patient cough than initially reported.
A statistical review of the initial results by the company’s lead scientific and medical advisor Dr Jacky Smith showed a significant improvement in mean objective 24-hour and waking cough counts after four and 12 weeks.
The analysis showed geometric mean 24-hour cough counts reduced by 32% at four weeks and 39.5% at 12 weeks compared to baseline, while geometric mean awake cough counts were reduced by 30.2% at four weeks and 37.4% at 12 weeks compared to baseline.
Analysis of geometric means is the standard method employed in trials measuring objective cough counts where data is heavily skewed.
Algernon chief executive officer Christopher Moreau said the new data was a positive step in the drug’s development.
“Ifenprodil’s potential as a potent cough treatment just increased,” he said.
“Cough in IPF patients has been historically more difficult to treat than standalone chronic cough and it is quite possible that Ifenprodil may show an even greater efficacy if tested directly in patients who have only chronic cough in the absence of IPF.”