New trial underway of Pharmaxis’ first-in-class LOX inhibitor

Australian company Pharmaxis (ASX:PXS) has announced that a phase 1c trial of its novel topical drug treatment has commenced dosing in patients with established scars.

The study, led by surgeon Professor Fiona Wood AM and researchers at The University of Western Australia (UWA), will assess the safety and tolerability of a once-daily application of the company’s PXS-6302 applied to areas of established scars on adult patients.

Skin biopsies will be taken in order to study the impact on scar structure as well as visual and physical assessments of the scar tissue.

The company said PXS-6302 is a first in class inhibitor of the lysyl oxidase enzymes (LOX) that are involved in the formation and maintenance of scars. It is a potential breakthrough treatment for patients with problematic scars.

PXS-6302 was discovered by the Pharmaxis research team at the company’s laboratories in Sydney.

Professor Wood said, “Scars are a constant reminder of trauma with both physical and psychological impact. Our aim is to reduce the scar and reduce the impact. Long-term scars are notoriously hard to improve, so it is potentially ground-breaking that a simple cream may make a difference.”

Scar formation following a burn or skin injury is a considerable health issue. After an injury, people are unable to regenerate normal skin, instead, the repair process leads to scar formation.

LOX plays a critical role in scar formation by crosslinking the collagen fibres. The resulting changes in collagen structure and increased rigidity of the tissue stimulate greater production of collagen and LOX that in turn leads to more scar tissue.

Pharmaxis said it and collaborators at UWA will now test if inhibiting LOX in established scar tissue with PXS-6302 can safely and effectively improve scarring when administered as a cream once a day for a 3-month period.

Pharmaxis CEO Gary Phillips said, “We place enormous value on our collaboration with Fiona Wood and the team at UWA. They identified the opportunity of utilising our expertise in drug development and extensive knowledge of lysyl oxidase enzymes to help patients with scars and have provided the clinical leadership to get this study underway. I look forward to reporting on the results later this year for a project that has significant potential both clinically and commercially.”

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