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Genkyotex's Lead NOX Inhibitor GKT137831 Demonstrates Activity in Models of Liver Fibrosis

Data Published in Hepatology

GENEVA & ARCHAMPS, France--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Aug 8, 2012 - Genkyotex, the leading developer of NOX inhibitors to treat oxygen-radical mediated diseases, announced today successful results from studies of the NOX 1 and 4 inhibitor, GKT137831, in experimental models of liver fibrosis. The data, published jointly with Professor David Brenner, M.D., Dean, School of Medicine, University of California San Diego online in Hepatology (DOI: 10.1002/hep.25938), demonstrates the specificity of GKT137831 and its ability to attenuate development of fibrosis in the liver and production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in two models of disease, as well as inhibiting messenger RNA expression of fibrotic and NOX genes.

“These data provide important validation of the role of NOX in liver fibrosis as well as demonstrating the robust activity of the NOX inhibitor GKT137831,” explained David A. Brenner, M.D. “Often called the silent disease due to the lack of symptoms, there is an unmet need for effective treatments for liver fibrosis as there are currently none available to patients.”

“The data also highlight the excellent pharmacological properties of GKT137831 and the broad potential for its use in fibrotic diseases,'' said Dr Patrick Page, Chief Development Officer at Genkyotex.” As we have reported previously, GKT137831 has shown a good safety and PK profile to date in Phase I studies and we plan to develop the drug initially in diabetic nephropathy, where kidney fibrosis plays a major role in the progression to end stage renal disease. We are now considering the clinical evaluation of GKT137831 in additional fibrotic diseases, such as nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, a common liver disease, where there is high unmet need and large market potential.”

Most chronic liver diseases are associated with progressive fibrosis, which is triggered by the loss of hepatocytes and the activation of inadequate wound healing pathways. When the liver is injured, specific cell subsets including hepatic stellate cells (HSCs), are activated to become myofibroblasts, a major source of extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins including collagen. Myofibroblast derived chemokines also recruit macrophages to the liver, which contribute to the fibrotic response. The activation of myofibroblasts is triggered by intracellular signaling pathways involving NOX. By inhibiting NOX, the researchers believe myofibroblast activation and macrophage recruitment can be interrupted, preventing further fibrosis and potentially allowing regression of established fibrosis.

Study Details

The role of NOX, and the efficacy of GKT137831, was evaluated in the carbon tetrachloride (CCL4) and bile duct ligation (BDL) models in mice. The CCL4 model was carried out in both wild type (WT) mice and in mice carrying the G37R mutation in the SOD1 gene (SOD1mu mice). This mutation leads to enhanced NOX activity and oxidative stress. Primary cultured HSCs isolated from WT and SOD1mu mice models were assessed for ROS production and NOX gene expression. Liver fibrosis developed in WT mice and was enhanced in SOD1mu mice, and ROS production and Rac1 activity were increased in SOD1mu HSCs. Treatment with the NOX1 and 4 inhibitor, GKT137831 suppressed ROS production and fibrotic gene expression in both SOD1mut and WT HSCs. In vivo, GKT137831 attenuated ROS production in both SOD1mu and WT mice as well as messenger RNA expression of fibrotic genes, resulting in reduced fibrosis. GKT137831 similarly prevented fibrosis in the BDLmodel, which mimics human cholestatic liver disease. GKT137831 was recently shown to be effective in the mouse BDL model, by an independent group of researchers lead by Ass. Professor Nathalie Torok at University of California Davis (Free Radic Biol Med. 2012 Jul 15;53(2):289-96. Epub 2012 May 19).

GKT137831 was found to be a potent inhibitor of human NOX4 (Ki =140 ±40 nM) and human NOX1 (Ki =110 ± 30 nM), with selectivity over other NOX isoforms.

About Genkyotex

Genkyotex is developing first in class, small molecule therapeutics that specifically and selectively inhibit the NOX family of enzymes. Using a unique screening platform, Genkyotex has identified novel NOX inhibitors with the potential to treat disease areas with a high clinical need and large market potential. Genkyotex was founded in 2006 by scientists from Switzerland, the USA and Japan, with backing from Geneva incubator Eclosion. A CHF25 million extension of the Series C investment was closed in July 2012, with existing investors, Eclosion, Edmond de Rothschild Investment Partners, Vesalius BioCapital and MP Healthcare Venture Management all reinvesting. Further information can be found at:


Contact: For further information, contact:
Dr. Ursula Ney
CEO, Genkyotex
Tel: +41 22 880 1025
Mo: +44 7900 898 708
Mike Sinclair
Halsin Partners
Tel: +44 20 7318 2955
Mo: +44 7968 022075



Posted: August 2012