Ena Therapeutics is a biotechnology company aiming to transform the treatment and prevention of respiratory infections. The company initial focus is to target respiratory infections in patients with asthma and COPD.
Viral respiratory infections are a major cause of morbidity and mortality and the main cause of exacerbations of most serious lung diseases like asthma, COPD and cystic fibrosis. The young, elderly and immunocompromised patients are also particularly at risk. Viral respiratory infections, predominantly with rhinoviruses, caused the vast majority of asthma and COPD exacerbations with frequency estimates of >80% for childhood, 41-78% for adult asthma and 50% for COPD.
Inhaled steroids in combination with bronchodilators can reduce the risk of exacerbation in both asthma an COPD to some extent but they are ineffective in acute exacerbations. This residual disease risk of exacerbations can currently only be addressed by systemic monoclonal antibodies IL-5, IgE, or ILR4. However, the high cost and specificity of these targeted anti-inflammatory therapies restricts their use to the most severe patients and limits their use in the market place.
Ena Therapeutics is progressing its novel, synthetic TLR2 agonists for the prophylactic treatment of respiratory infections in subjects at high risk of complications, including asthma, COPD, CF, transplantation and immunocompromised patients, periods of pandemics or children and elderly populations.
The effectiveness of INNA-X molecules has been confirmed in a series of pre-clinical, in vivo, proof-of-concept studies using a number of respiratory infectious disease models, including an influenza challenge and rhinovirus challenge models. Importantly, INNA-X molecules have long-lasting immunomodulatory potential and are effective when administered in a weekly regimen. Treatment with INNA-X has also been shown to complement the effect of topical corticosteroids (fluticasone propionate) in reducing virus-induced airway inflammation in a rhinovirus challenge model. The company aims to enter the clinic in early 2020.