Promising Cystic Fibrosis Compound On Track For Development
Gilead Sciences will co-develop Parion 680, a compound that could become an important new drug in treating the basic defect in cystic fibrosis.
This product was identified as part of a $1.7 million award to Parion from Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Therapeutics, Inc. -- the CF Foundation's nonprofit drug discovery and development affiliate.
"This news validates our 'venture philanthropy' approach to drug development," said Robert J. Beall, Ph.D., President and CEO of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. "We are a small disease, but as we have proven again and again, making the right investment in the early stages has an impact on how drugs are developed for cystic fibrosis. That is why the Foundation has been able to build a robust drug development pipeline that has nearly 30 promising therapies."
Parion 680 is intended to decrease the development of thick, sticky mucus in the lungs of CF patients, which often leads to severe infections that reduce lung function and cause irreversible lung damage.
A common condition in CF patients is the excessive absorption of sodium by affected cells, such as those lining the lungs, compounded by the inability of chloride to move swiftly out of these same cells. It is the net effect of both of these actions that gives rise to the thick tenacious secretions that eventually harbor the bacteria and create lung destruction. Compounds like Parion 680 try to remediate this condition by decreasing the CF cell's excessive absorption of sodium.
Gilead's commitment ensures that Parion 680 will be developed in a timely fashion for CF patients by a company that has sufficient resources to bring the product through preclinical and clinical development, including clinical trials.
"There are still many hurdles to overcome, but with the support of Gilead and Parion, we are very optimistic about this promising therapy moving forward," said Beall.
Gilead Sciences, through the purchase of Corus Pharmaceutical Company last year, acquired the rights to develop aztreonam lysine as an inhalation product to treat Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections. The company has said it will submit its new drug application (NDA) for aztreonam lysine to the FDA by the end of 2007. In the meantime, Gilead recently announced it has made available an early access program for patients who have "limited treatment options and are at risk for disease progression."