Nyrada (ASX:NYR) compound combined with statin achieves 65% cholesterol reduction, June 2021

Interviews

by Lauren Evans

Nyrada Limited (ASX:NYR) CEO James Bonnar discusses results from the company's second preclinical study of its NYX-PCSK9i cholesterol-lowering compound.

Lauren Evans: Hi. This is Lauren Evans for the Finance News Network, and joining me today is Nyrada's (ASX:NYR) CEO, James Bonnar. James, welcome back.

James Bonnar: Hi, Lauren. Good to be back on FNN.

Lauren Evans: It's great to have you back, James. So, what are the key findings coming out of this study, and what does this mean for the progression of Nyrada's cholesterol-lowering drug program?

James Bonnar: So, the results we have just released are from a second of two proof of concept studies, where we're looking at the effect of our drug NYX-PCSK9i on cholesterol levels in a specialised mouse model. In the first study, we were looking to optimise the dose, and we showed a 50 per cent reduction in cholesterol. We're pleased to report that, in the second study, we confirmed that 50 per cent lowering. But what we were really looking to show in the study is the effect of our drug on top of a statin, and, pleasingly, we got a 65 per cent reduction when the two drugs were given in combination.

Lauren Evans: What does this study show about your compound in comparison to other cholesterol treatments?

James Bonnar: Well, if you look at the graph, the blue line that's plotted there shows the effect of cholesterol-lowering by Lipitor. And, for those who don't know, Lipitor is the blockbuster drug that Pfizer have been selling for the last 25 years. In the study, we were able to show a superior effect with our drug, where we halved cholesterol. With the drug Lipitor, we saw a one-third reduction. This is a drug that's had a lifetime sales figure of around US$164 billion, so to be playing in that space with that sort of drug is very impressive and to show a superior effect in this study. What was really pleasing to see is that, in combination, we got a 65 per cent reduction or close to two-thirds reduction in cholesterol, and that is significant. And what was also pleasing was that, at the end of the study, the results were still trending down. There is another class of drugs that work the same as ours, but these are injectable drugs. And they work well with a statin; however, they're very expensive, and they're inconvenient to use. And, as a result, there hasn't been great uptake with patients.

Lauren Evans: What is the potential market size for Nyrada's drug?

James Bonnar: The market is estimated to be worth around about US$20 billion per year. And if we look at the number of patients affected, in the US there are about 60 million people who have high cholesterol and are at risk of cardiovascular disease. Of those, about half are taking a statin. What's interesting is that, of those people that take statins, about 70 per cent have a suboptimal response and struggle to meet their target cholesterol level. So, what we're developing is a drug that can be effective either as a monotherapy or used in combination with a statin to help those people reach their cholesterol target.

Lauren Evans: So, what are the next steps?

James Bonnar: So, the next step for this program is we're going to enter preclinical safety, pharmacology and toxicology testing, and that will take place in the second half of the year. And once we've completed those studies, we will then initiate the Phase 1 study. And what we're planning is a Phase 1 study giving 14 days of treatment to healthy volunteers, and that study will be run here in Australia.

Lauren Evans: What other updates can we expect from Nyrada in the coming months?

James Bonnar: So, in addition to reporting on those studies, we also have another program we're running, and that is a brain injury drug. We're developing a treatment for stroke and traumatic brain injury. And, recently, we announced a collaboration with the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, and we're very excited about that. The Walter Reed Army Institute are the Department of Defence's research group that look specifically at traumatic brain injury. So, we will be initiating studies and completing those in the second half of the year and reporting those to the market as well.

Lauren Evans: And is there anything else that you'd like to add, James?

James Bonnar: One more thing, Lauren. In the study, we also ran an exploratory arm with a new compound we're developing, and we saw a really good reduction in cholesterol in the first 14 days. So, we're going to work on that compound as a potential backup or second-generation compound in parallel with putting NYX-PCSK9i through preclinical testing.

Lauren Evans: Well, James Bonnar, thanks for the update, and congratulations on the progress.

James Bonnar: Thanks, Lauren. It's been a pleasure.


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