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NeRRe spends 20 million pounds to test chronic cough medicine for deadly lung disease

Patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), a rare and fatal lung disease, experience an uncontrolled, persistent cough that does not respond to any treatment. The clinical data of NeRRe Therapeutics shows that its experimental drug can reduce the frequency of coughing and has 20 million pounds raised (Approximately US$27.6 million) to see if this therapy can help patients with IPF cough.

The Stevenage, UK-based company described the new financing announced on Wednesday as a B2 round of financing. It plans to use the cash for drugs, auripitan, and clinical tests planned for the diagnosis of patients with IPF.

IPF is a form of fibrosis that affects the lungs. This disease causes thickening and hardening of connective tissue, which in turn leads to scarring of the lungs. There is no cure other than lung transplantation. Treatment is mainly to control symptoms, although some biotech companies have entered clinical trials to test drugs designed to address the mechanisms that drive fibrosis. This is not what NeRRe is after. The company aims to solve the problem of persistent coughing in patients with IPF as the disease progresses.

Orvepitant is a small molecule designed to block neurokinin 1 (NK-1) receptors. NK-1 inhibitors have been used to prevent nausea and vomiting. According to NeRRe, the dysfunction of this receptor is also related to the nervousness that causes chronic cough. Blocking NK-1 aims to reduce the allergic reaction of chronic cough.

The Phase 2 study planned by Nerre in IPF patients is the second attempt by orvepitant, which the company initially studied as a treatment for chronic cough that is resistant to treatment. The placebo-controlled phase 2 study enrolled 319 patients who took the pill once a day for 12 Result report In 2019, orvepitant failed to achieve its main goal of reducing the frequency of coughing when patients are awake in week 12.

Despite the failure of the clinical trial, NeRRe pointed out that other measures have shown improvement in chronic cough symptoms, including cough severity and urge to cough. NeRRE stated on its website that at 30 mg (the highest dose tested), the data tended to show significance in patients with a higher cough frequency at the beginning of the study. Since that study, other clinical studies of chronic cough have shown similar results. It is in this situation that NeRRe plans to conduct Phase 2 testing in patients with IPF, which is a disease characterized by a high frequency of coughing.

NeRRe is a derivative product of GlaxoSmithKline. All of the biotech company’s drugs are NK inhibitors, originally from the laboratories of the pharmaceutical giant. NeRRe’s new cash injection was made nearly a year after its own spin-off company. KaNDy Therapeutics was acquired by Bayer for USD 425 million. KaNDy’s drug, now called BAY3427080, is a potential treatment for night sweats and hot flashes of menopausal symptoms. This small molecule designed to block NK-1 and NK-3 receptors is undergoing mid-term clinical testing.

The new NeRRe funding was led by new investors Columbus Venture Partners and early investors Advent Life Sciences, Fountain Healthcare Partners, Forbion Capital Partners, OrbiMed and the British government’s Future Fund. NeRRe said that most of the proceeds will be used for phase II clinical development of orvepitant for the treatment of chronic cough associated with IPF.

Photo Credit: Jackie Niam, Getty Images

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