BioStock article: Cyxone identifies target protein for rabeximod

Jan 17, 2024

BioStock published an article on 17 January 2024 about Cyxone, which can be read in full below.

Cyxone has put intense focus on the development of lead candidate rabeximod – an immunomodulatory treatment for rheumatoid arthritis. The company has now produced important research results that provide a more detailed insight into the drug candidate’s mechanism of action. The company’s CEO Carl-Magnus Högerkorp tells us more in an interview.

Cyxone is a Malmö-based biotech company focused on the treatment of autoimmune diseases. The company’s product portfolio consists of rabeximod for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and T20K for the treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS).

Rabeximod, the company’s lead candidate, is in phase II of clinical development with a focus on exploratory smaller studies in relevant patient populations. The drug candidate is positioned as a treatment option for patients who do not experience sufficient improvement with today’s disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), such as TNFα inhibitors. This patient segment is called DMARD-IR and is in great need of new treatment options.

Mechanism of action milestone
Cyxone recently announced that they have reached an important milestone for rabeximod as they have identified the biological target protein for the drug candidate and confirmed the finding with an independent scientific analysis. The discovery contributes to an increased understanding of the treatment’s mechanism of action and confirms its First-in-Class potential.

Cyxone has known for a long time that rabeximod inhibits inflammatory processes, but they have not had a clear picture of which target protein the candidate is targeting – until now. The new research results provide a more detailed insight into the mechanism of action, i.e. how the candidate affects pro-inflammatory cells.

Comments from Cyxone’s CEO
BioStock reached out to Cyxone’s CEO Carl-Magnus Högerkorp to find out more about the new findings on the mechanism of action of rabeximod.

Carl-Magnus Högerkorp, CEO Cyxone

Could you give us some more detail on the new research findings for rabeximod?

– In recent years, we have worked with a number of collaborators to better understand the mechanism of action of rabeximod. Based on the preclinical research previously conducted with the molecule, we have had an understanding that rabeximod has an inhibitory effect on an important signaling pathway in the inflammation process. In the spring of 2023, however, we made an important observation which initially seemed insignificant, but later turned out to have an important meaning in order to solve the riddle of the mechanism of action. From this new point of view, we went further and conducted an exploratory study that succeeded in identifying the potential target protein. We have since conducted another study that confirmed the findings regarding the target protein.

What is the role of the target protein in the inflammatory process?

– The new findings explain how the molecule affects pro-inflammatory macrophages and dendritic cells and why these cells have an increased sensitivity to treatment with rabeximod. Rebeximod affects the function of these cells on a fairly fundamental level and contributes to selective inhibition. What is exciting is that this form of regulation has interested researchers in the field for the last 6-7 years, but there has been a lack of clinical candidates. Rabeximod is therefore very well positioned as we have already shown that the treatment concept works, even in severely ill rheumatoid arthritis patients.

How do you benefit from the new findings in the continued development of rabeximod?

– Knowledge of the mechanism of action is essential for the further development of the project. It contributes to an increased understanding of the processes that are affected in the body during treatment and makes it possible to design programmes to learn more about possible side effects of the drug. In rabeximod’s case, however, we have a lot in place as we have accumulated safety data from close to 300 patients, which shows a favourable safety profile.

– Of course, it is also important to have a clear picture of the mechanism of action when talking to partners. This type of information is essential in order to move forward in partner discussions, and it also minimises the risk of the project.

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