Nitric oxide (NO)-donors: the Nicox expertise
Nicox has developed a world-leading position in the therapeutic application of NO-donating compounds, based on a strong research platform which creates New Molecular Entities (NMEs).
Our specialized Research Center in Italy has worked on many R&D studies covering various therapy areas such as cardiovascular, inflammation and ophthalmology. This work has enabled the Company to generate more than 520 granted patents and patents applications.
Nicox’s compounds, known as NO-donors, are designed to donate nitric oxide with a sustained pharmacological effect at tissue level aiming at avoiding the drawbacks related to the rapid burst of nitric oxide associated with traditional nitrates.
Focus on ocular disorders
In line with Nicox’s strategic positioning in the ophthalmic space, the research platform is now focused on ocular diseases where nitric oxide has been shown to play an important role. A specialized team in Nicox’s Italian research subsidiary Nicox Srl is pursuing targeted projects in collaboration with external research centers. This will enable Nicox to enhance its knowledge of the role and potential of nitric oxide (NO) in the eye and to leverage its long-standing expertise in the therapeutic application of NO-donating compounds.
Many studies show that nitric oxide is involved in the eye’s physiology and pathophysiology. The phase 3 results for VESNEO (latanoprostene bunod) confirmed the strong potential of our NO-donating proprietary research platform.
Our Research team has developed additional NO-donating prostaglandins in the glaucoma area and NO-donating steroids which showed in animal models potential advantages in terms of safety for the treatment of certain back of the eye diseases. The team, in collaboration with Universities and other Research Institutions, is currently focused on our next generation of NO-donors for specific applications of eye disorders. The Company is seeking potential partners for further co-development on these innovative compounds.
The role of NO in the ocular field
Nitric oxide (NO) is an endogenous cell-signaling molecule of fundamental importance in physiology and the subject of considerable scientific interest in recent years. There is significant evidence that certain diseases are related to a deficiency in the production of nitric oxide. This creates the possibility of developing new drug treatments which can donate nitric oxide when the body cannot generate sufficient amounts to allow normal biological functions.
NO and other molecules involved in NO-mediated signaling are present in ocular tissues. Studies have shown that topical or systemic administration of classic NO-donors (nitroglycerine, isosorbide dinitrate) in patients reduce intraocular pressure (IOP), supporting a role for NO in the regulation of IOP. This is of particular interest in the potential treatment of glaucoma, which is often associated with an increased IOP and can eventually lead to blindness if not treated.
Kotikoski et al. J Ocul Pharmacol Ther, 2002, 18:11-23;
Schumann et al. Exp Eye Res,1994, 58:99-105;
Nathanson et al. J Pharmacol Exp Ther, 1992, 260:956-65 ;
Wizemann & Wizemann. Am J Ophthalmol, 1980, 90:106-9