Published on June 19, 2012 at 9:18 AM
In preclinical studies, R256, a JAK inhibitor, has been shown to be a potent inhibitor of IL-13 and IL-4 signaling at the primary cellular level. Patients with moderate to severe chronic asthma experience persistent inflammation and cellular remodelling of their airways, which may result in permanently reduced lung function if left untreated. In preclinical models, R256 reduces the severity of inflammation and improves lung function by mechanisms associated with several hallmarks of asthma such as bronchoconstriction, mucus overproduction and airway remodeling. In May 2012, Rigel presented two studies on R256 in asthma at the American Thoracic Society International Conference.
This is the second licensing agreement between AstraZeneca and Rigel Pharmaceuticals. The companies previously announced a worldwide license agreement in February 2010, whereby AstraZeneca agreed to develop and commercialise fostamatinib, the first oral SYK inhibitor, in development as a novel therapeutic approach for rheumatoid arthritis. The phase III clinical programme, called OSKIRA (Oral SYK Inhibition in Rheumatoid Arthritis) enrolled its first patient in September of 2010 and is designed to investigate fostamatinib as a therapeutic option for patients who have an inadequate response to currently available therapies such as traditional disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) and parenteral anti-TNFs.