Nyrada (ASX: NYR) revealed this morning it was continuing to make “strong progress” in its two lead drug programs to treat brain injury and lower cholesterol.
The brain injury program is using a neuroprotectant drug to reduce secondary brain damage following head trauma (motor vehicle accidents, sporting injuries, falls) or stroke.
Following an initial trauma, secondary brain injury is a process of brain cell death known as excitotoxicity.
According to Nyrada, head trauma and stroke are leading causes of hospital admissions and long-term rehabilitation requirements.
Nyrada has recently discovered a new generation of more potent compounds that inhibit what it believes is the key driver of secondary brain injury.
Commenting on the study’s progress, Nyrada scientific advisory board chairman Professor Gary Housley said he was “delighted” and work to-date had built the company’s “confidence” it would enter the clinic with a “highly optimised drug”.
“Progressive cellular excitotoxicity is recognised as a major mechanism that compounds mortality and long-term disability following stroke and brain trauma, and a drug which modulates this process to improve outcomes for these patients is long overdue,” he added.
Nyrada’s other lead program is a drug to reduce LDL cholesterol to levels that are considered low risk for cardiovascular disease.
The dug inhibits the function of a protein called PCSK9 that is central to the regulation of low-density cholesterol.
Nyrada noted the study remains on track in its goal of identifying a lead candidate by mid-2020, which will pave the way to human trials.
“The majority of patients taking statin therapy alone are unable to achieve their target LDL-cholesterol level and pharmaceutical companies are actively seeking new and better approaches,” Nyrada chief executive officer James Bonnar explained.
“We and our advisors believe that a convenient and cost-effective single pill containing the Nyrada PCSK9 inhibitor and a generic statin will be an effective solution capable of capturing a share of a market currently worth $20 billion annually,” he added.
Cashed up and COVID-19 precautions
Nyrada reiterated it retained a strong cash position after its recent $8.5 million IPO in January.
To preserve this further, Nyrada is also pursuing a variety of non-dilutive funding and collaboration opportunities for developing its drug candidates.
Additionally, Nyrada claims its operations and supply chains remain unaffected by COVID-19.
However, it stated it was undertaking precautionary measures to “quarantine” the business from any potential global fall-out.