Australian drug developer Invion’s migraine and blood pressure treatment drug Nadolol has found success as a new quit smoking agent.
Results from its 155-patient, phase-two clinical trial indicate smokers administered with the drug are more likely to stop smoking completely, or dramatically reduce the number of cigarettes smoked.
Unlike the usual nicotine-based therapies, Invion’s beta-blocker targets the overproduction of mucus in the airway of the lung to dampen inflammation.
That helps combat the dreaded “smokers cough”, which develops through the build up of mucus after the last cigarette.
Based on its findings, Invion is approaching the US Food & Drug Administration to design an advanced phase-three trial. If approved, it would be ready to begin the trial in the second half of 2016, chief executive Greg Collier says.
Invion is targeting a multi-billion dollar market segment that already has two existing drugs – from GlaxoSmithkline and Pfizer.
However, the results from Invion’s study indicate its success rate is in the ballpark with that of the two pharma majors offerings, but has lower side-effects, Dr Collier said.
He believes the drug can be used as complementary therapy to nicotine patches, and hopes to develop the drug as a new treatment for asthma.
Given its small size, the junior developer is also talking to several large pharma companies – including GSK and Pfizer, for partnerships to develop the drug.
Based on negotiations, the partnership could take the form of the pharma major funding the development with the option to buy the product, or buy the company, or simply commercialise the drug.
Dr Collier has previously sold ASX-listed leukaemia drug developer Chemgenex to US company Cephalon for $230 million, in 2011.
Invion, which has a market capitalisation of just $12 million, saw its shares jump nearly eight per cent on Monday.