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 fibrosis can occur as a result of many different diseases, for example inflammatory bowel disease. Current therapeutic options are limited for these chronic and often life-threatening diseases.
Redx’s experienced team of scientists have considerable expertise in understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying fibrosis and hence which 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.
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 to the lungs. 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 is only aimed at slowing down disease progression.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a chronic inflammatory condition of the colon and small intestine. It can be subdivided into two main conditions: ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Both diseases are long-term conditions that involve inflammation of the gut.
Current drugs only target pathways involved in inflammation and are notoriously ineffective for longer-term treatment. As inflammation persists, over time, this damage results in fibrosis of the intestine. In the USA 30-40% of patients with IBD will develop fibrosis within ten years of diagnosis. There are currently no approved anti-fibrotic treatments. Fibrotic tissue can cause stricture formation and obstruction of the intestine often requiring invasive surgical intervention. Fibrosis commonly recurs in these patients, necessitating further surgery that ultimately results in short bowel syndrome.
Diabetes is a global health issue with increasing numbers of patients being diagnosed year on year. One of the most common complications of diabetes is diabetic nephropathy, which has no effective treatment, and as a result patients will eventually develop kidney fibrosis. It is estimated that 40% of patients with diabetes will develop this debilitating kidney disease which ultimately leads to a decline in function of the kidney.
NASH/ Liver fibrosis
It is estimated that 30% of people in the developed world will develop liver disease. Fibrosis of the liver results from ongoing inflammation and liver cell death; processes that occur in most types of chronic liver disease. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a condition in which fat builds up in a patient’s liver, with non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) being a more serious type of NAFLD. Accumulation of fat leads to liver inflammation and damage to the cells of the liver. If left untreated a build-up of scar tissue can eventually disrupt the metabolic functions of the liver. Progression of the disease can lead to cirrhosis – a condition in which the liver is severely scarred, its blood flow is restricted, and its ability to function is impaired. No medicines have been approved to treat NASH or NAFLD; current treatments include lifestyle changes such as weight loss.