Retroscreen Virology Group plc, the pioneer of hVIVO human challenge models of disease, is pleased to announce the start of the Company’s first-ever asthma study as it seeks to develop a safe, reproducible and clinically relevant asthma human challenge model. The Company is sponsoring the study itself and plans to launch the model as the first commercially available viral challenge model for the study of asthma and third party asthma and antiviral therapies in asthmatic subjects. The model will also provide Retroscreen with its first samples obtained from subjects during the course of an asthma exacerbation using its hVIVO platform. Retroscreen is developing a range of new human challenge models, incorporating its viral challenge model concept, to expand its service offering into new disease areas with high unmet need. These include respiratory diseases such asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), where exacerbations are typically caused by Human Rhinovirus (HRV-16) and other respiratory viruses.
The first subject has now been enrolled in a randomised double-blind study of the safety and tolerability of asthmatics to challenge with HRV-16. The aim is to validate the safety and tolerability of the HRV-16 virus and to assess the impact of infection with HRV-16 in this asthmatic population. Up to 21 asthmatic subjects, who are currently being treated with shortacting inhaled β-agonists alone, will be inocluated with the challenge virus or placebo. The primary safety endpoint is the incidence, number and severity of asthma exacerbations as determined by independent clinical review.
Kym Denny, Chief Executive Officer, commented, “Retroscreen is expanding the application of its hVIVO platform into new disease areas with high unmet medical needs. Asthma represents a major opportunity for Retroscreen not only to expand its service offering, but also to gain important insights into a disease that affects millions of people around the world. We are also preparing to initiate, over the coming weeks, a viral challenge study in the Over 45’s as a precursor to developing a COPD human challenge model.”