Apollo Life Sciences, a Sydney-based biotechnology company, has announced that its topical psoriasis treatment has outperformed current market-leading drugs in preclinical studies.
The cream-based treatment, which relieves symptoms without an injection, is now proceeding to Phase 2 clinical trials.
Apollo developed its proprietary formula using a Tumour Necrosis Factor (TNF) blocker, a protein that reduces inflammation and is used to treat psoriasis and other inflammatory diseases. The trials confirmed that Apollo's 'transdermal' technology successfully delivers large proteins, such as anti-inflammatories, through the skin. In comparison, psoriasis treatment products currently on the market must be injected.
Comparative tests found Apollo's product at least as effective as treatments offered by market leaders Enbrel, Humira and Remicade, which dominate a global TNF-blocker market estimated to be worth around US$8.5 billion, with an annual growth rate of over 30%.
Apollo's TransD(TM) technology, which takes anti-inflammatories and other substances through the skin, makes possible topical application of medications previously taken via injections or tablets, thus enabling direct treatment of affected areas. The transdermal formula also reduces side effects by delivering the drug directly where it is needed, rather than travelling through the whole body as with injected versions.
"At the moment, people who are prescribed a TNF blocker must take injections. Apollo's treatment will be easier and less painful to apply," said Apollo's Science Director, Dr Greg Russell-Jones. "The TNF blockers currently on the market can have quite severe side effects, from serious infections and bruising to seizures and a higher risk of cancer. Because our TNF blocker is based on human proteins, we expect it will have fewer side effects."
Going forward, Apollo is considering approaches from overseas companies about developing its TNF blocker for subcutaneous delivery.
Psoriasis (pronounced sore-EYE-a-sis) is a severe skin rash that affects 3% of the western population and tens of millions of people in Asia. It occurs when the immune system overreacts, leading to an over-growth of skin cells that in turn form itchy lesions. Sufferers often face a lifetime of treatment and ill health as psoriasis is rarely completely cured.