A Pharmaxis Ltd (ASX:PXS) drug discovery has entered a world first clinical trial aiming to stop scars forming after trauma, particularly following burn injuries.
Distinguished surgeon and burns expert Professor Fiona Wood AM is leading a group of researchers from the University of Western Australia (UWA) and Fiona Stanley Hospital to test the treatment in the first human trials.
Skin scarring after events such as accidents, surgery or burns place a substantial physical and psychological burden on patients.
It’s exciting for the research team to explore a novel path to reduce scarring and to be moving closer to that goal. Scar‐less healing is the vision that has motivated our work over many decades,” Professor Wood said.
The Pharmaxis discovery, known as PXS‐6302, has shown promising pre‐clinical results in inhibiting the enzymes that play a critical role in the development of scar tissue.
Dr Kylie Sandy‐Hodgetts, Senior Research Fellow at the School of Biomedical Sciences, UWA, said current treatments aim to rectify the scar in the acute phase such as during wound healing and scar maturation through options such as compression therapy, silicone gel sheeting or when the scar is established by cryotherapy, scar revision or laser with limited outcomes at times.
This new compound may potentially avoid the need for invasive procedures such as further surgery or laser procedures,” Dr Sandy‐Hodgetts said.
The world‐first human trial will determine the safety and tolerability of the product in healthy volunteers, which will lead to further trials in burns and surgical patients.
“Scar formation following surgery has a huge impact on patient wellbeing and how people feel about themselves.
“What we’re hoping is that this new cream may have the potential to improve scar outcomes in patients following surgery,” Dr Sandy‐Hodgetts said.
Pharmaxis CEO Gary Phillips said the company was very pleased to see its expertise in fibrosis being applied to help patients with scarring.
“We have had a long and productive collaboration with researchers at UWA and this important trial of our drug PXS‐6302 will establish whether the remarkable results seen in the pre‐clinical models can be replicated in patients.
“Scarring can have a devastating and life‐long impact on people who have suffered traumatic injuries. A topical cream to reduce scarring would have a significant role in treatment with broad application in the hospital and community medical settings,” Mr Phillips said.
PXS‐6302 was discovered by the Pharmaxis research team at the company’s Frenchs Forest laboratories. The project had research funding support for some of the pre‐clinical development work done in collaboration with UWA’s Dr Mark Fear from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).
In a separate project, the team is working on another anti‐fibrotic pan‐LOX inhibitor (PXS‐5505) which has shown promising early results and is undergoing patient trials as a potential disease modifying treatment for the rare bone marrow cancer myelofibrosis.