Our strategy in fibrosis
Fibrosis is an internal scarring process, which can occur in response to injury, where excess connective tissue is deposited in an organ or tissue – thereby impairing its function. Most chronic inflammatory diseases will result in fibrosis, with progressive injury resulting in organ failure. Fibrotic disease can occur in nearly any tissue in the body and contributes to 45% of deaths in the developed world. Solid organ (such as lung, liver or kidney) fibrosis can occur as a result of many different diseases and underlying health issues, including obesity or diabetes. Current therapeutic options are limited for these chronic and often life-threatening diseases.
Redx’s experienced team of scientists has considerable expertise in understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying fibrosis and druggable targets to focus on. We are developing cutting edge therapies that aim to stop and reverse the formation of fibrotic tissue. By targeting pathways involved in the progression of these devastating diseases, these drugs will be disease-modifying rather than simply providing symptomatic relief.
Non-alcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH)
NASH is an inflammatory and fibrotic disease of the liver caused by non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) – a condition where fatty deposits build-up in liver tissue. It is estimated that up to 30% of adults in the developed world may have fatty livers caused by obesity, poor diet and lack of exercise. Whilst lifestyle changes can reverse NAFLD in the early stages, once inflammation and fibrosis are established, disease progression is no longer reversible with changes in patient behaviours. Over time the fat accumulation leads to inflammation, tissue damage and eventual tissue remodelling and fibrosis. Fibrotic tissue build-up results in loss of metabolic function in the liver and reduced blood flow. NASH progresses through different stages, each with increasing severity. In the final stages, patients have a condition known as cirrhosis, a severely debilitating disease caused by a heavily scarred liver with minimal function remaining. Cirrhosis patients are also at high risk of developing hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the third leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide. There are currently no approved treatments for NAFLD or NASH and there is a need for new therapies to address these diseases.
Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF)
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a debilitating disease of the lungs which progressively causes scarring and a reduction in lung function. Occurring primarily in older adults (>50 years old), it involves irreversible and variable scarring, stiffening, and thickening of the lung tissues, leading to patients experiencing shortness of breath and lack of oxygen absorption. Around 53,000 people are diagnosed each year with IPF (US, 5 EU, Japan).
Patients diagnosed with IPF have an estimated life expectancy of 3 to 5 years. There is no known cure and current treatment only slows progression of the disease.
Diabetes is a global health issue affecting approximately 451 million people worldwide in 2017. The number of patients with diabetes is expected to increase to 693 million by 2045. One of the most common complications of diabetes, affecting approximately 20-40% of patients, is diabetic nephropathy. In these patients, high blood glucose causes progressive damage, scarring and fibrosis of the kidneys impairing their function. Over time, some patients progress to end-stage renal disease, where the kidneys are no longer able to function, and the only treatment is dialysis and / or organ transplant. There are no current treatments targeting fibrosis in this disease.
More information about diabetic nephropathy:
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIH) – Nephropathy
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIH) – Diabetic Kidney Disease
Crohn’s disease (CD) is a chronic inflammatory condition of the colon and small intestine. It is one of the three main subgroups of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which also includes ulcerative colitis (UC), and IBD unclassified (IBDU).
As inflammation persists, tissue damage occurs resulting in tissue remodelling and fibrosis in the intestine. In the USA, 30-40% of patients with IBD will develop fibrosis within 10 years of diagnosis. Fibrotic tissue can cause stricture formation and life-threatening obstruction of the intestine often requiring invasive and debilitating surgical intervention to restore bowel function. Fibrosis commonly recurs in these patients, necessitating further surgery that ultimately results in short bowel syndrome, a severe condition resulting in malnutrition and major quality of life issues for the patient. Anti-inflammatory medication is unable to inhibit fibrosis and there are currently no approved anti-fibrotic treatments for IBD.