Research updates from 4D and C4X

DRUG discovery pioneers C4X and 4D Pharma have delivered positive news to shareholders regarding their product pipelines.

The Manchester-based firms, which both listed on the AIM market last year, said they were nearing the clinical trails phase for some of their prospects.

C4X Discovery Holdings said it had selected a drug candidate from its Orexin-1 programme to enter pre-clinical development prior to the initiation of clinical studies for the treatment of stress-related addictive disorders. This represents a major milestone for C4XD.

It said in a statement that treatment of addictions, such as alcohol, nicotine, cocaine and opiates, is an area of high unmet medical need. This market is worth around $9bn annually and Orexin-1 represents a key molecular target for new drug development in this area.

“C4XD’s drug candidate is a small-molecule compound discovered using the company’s unique, highly efficient conformational design technology,”

Chief executive Piers Morgan said the company had reached this stage, earlier than had been expected, and added: “We are enormously excited by this significant demonstration of the power of our technology. Taking our proprietary drug candidate into preclinical development represents an important milestone.

“Our technology has shown a speed and economic efficiency that could revolutionise the drug discovery process. The C4XD platform, centred on conformational design of small molecule therapeutics, is delivering on its promise to develop innovative treatments faster and at a fraction of the cost of conventional approaches.”

Meanwhile 4D pharma, whose shares have more than quadrupled to more than £8 each since its AIM listing in February 2014, provided a research update on its clinical development programme.

It said it has two programmes progressing towards the clinic, Blautix, for the treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (“IBS”), and Thetanix, for the treatment of paediatric Crohn’s Disease.

It said a dossier for Blautix has been submitted to Swissmedic (Swiss Agency for Therapeutic Products) and the EKNZ (Swiss ethics committee) in relation to a first ‘in man’ study to be carried out in healthy volunteers and individuals exhibiting symptoms of IBS.

It said Thetanix also continues to progress towards a first in man study, to be carried out in Paediatric Crohn’s patients. This trial is expected to commence in H2 2015.  

Dr  Alex Stevenson, 4D’s chief scientific officer said: “$D is at the forefront of the development of live biotherapeutics, a new class of drug designed to treat the underlying causes of disease rather than just the symptoms. A critical component of making live biotherapeutics a reality is the ability to rapidly translate candidates identified in the laboratory into pharmaceutical grade products that can be administered to patients.

“Over the last few months we have made tremendous progress in establishing a methodology that allows us to do just that. With Blautix and Thetanix approaching the clinic, we are applying this same methodology to our pipeline of novel live biotherapeutic treatments for additional indications, such as asthma and rheumatoid arthritis, in line with our goal of developing ground breaking treatments for a wide range of important diseases”.