BioWorld International Correspondent

PARIS - Topigen Pharmaceuticals Inc. embarked on Phase II trials of TPI-1020, an inhaled corticosteroid, in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

The drug originally was developed by NicOx SA, when it was called NCX 1020. Under an agreement signed with NicOx, of Sophia-Antipolis, France, in October 2005, Topigen, of Montreal, licensed North American rights to TPI-1020 for respiratory diseases and acquired an option on worldwide rights to the product.

TPI-1020 is an inhaled nitric oxide-donating derivative of budesonide, a corticosteroid marketed by AstraZeneca plc, of London, under the name of Pulmicort. Topigen is testing TPI-1020 on asthmatic smokers, and the primary endpoints will be safety, tolerability and pharmacodynamic activity of the drug. Evaluating the efficacy of inhaled TPI-1020 is a secondary objective.

As the vice president of product development at Topigen, Louise Proulx, explained: "TPI-1020 targets the underlying inflammation involved in certain lung disorders. Our preclinical and clinical observations suggest that the drug has broad potential to provide effective therapy for airway diseases such as COPD and certain asthma indications. The goal of our program is to develop a medication that inhibits the recruitment of inflammatory cells, or neutrophils, and is more effective than leading conventional corticosteroids in treating patients with COPD."

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