Fibrosis is associated with over-production of connective tissue and extracellular matrix in response to a diseased state or wound healing process. In internal organs such as liver and lungs, fibrosis leads to a gradual reduction of functionality of those organs. In skin excessive fibrosis during the wound healing process can lead to oversized scars and keloids.
FAK is a therapeutic target for a range of fibrotic diseases due to its central function as the interface scaffold protein involved in sensing and signal transduction between the extracellular environment and the cytoskeleton
Secretion of Extra-cellular Factors such as collagens and fibronectin
We have currently 3 pre-clinical programs in the application of our FAK inhibitor to fibrotic diseases. Preliminary data in our targeting of the FAT domain of FAK show superior results in reducing Liver, Lung and Skin Fibrosis relative to the kinase-domain targeting.
The known causes of liver fibrosis are Alcoholism, Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) and infectious agents such as Hepatitis C.
If not stopped, liver fibrosis may lead to cirrhosis and liver failure that would necessitate transplantation, if and when available.
When detected early, liver fibrosis may be reversed. We are currently entering the in-vivo stage of our FAK-inhibitions studies.
IDIOPATHIC PULMONARY FIBROSIS
IPF is a gradual stiffening and scarring of the lung tissue leading to decline in lung function and a variety of cardiovascular diseases. Extreme cases of IPF require lung transplantations.
It is an unmet need with to-date unknown causes. Risk factors include smoking and viral infections. An increase in IPF cases may result from the COVID pandemic, as it is being documented that some convalescent COVID patients have increased lung and heart inflammation.
We are currently in the in-vivo stage of our FAK-inhibition studies.
SKIN FIBROSIS AND KELOIDS
Practically all skin wounds lead to scar tissue formation, either temporary of permanent. Depending on a variety of factors some scars never resolve into a full tissue remodeling and never disappear. Extreme cases of these are keloids.
Scar resolution is a central problem in Plastic Surgery and we have initiated an in-vitro study with the view of bringing our FAK inhibitor into this practice.