Research in PNAS by Hydra shows that TRP ion channel drug can treat allergy-induced asthma

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., May 15, 2009 — Hydra Biosciences, Inc., a biotech company developing novel ion channel drugs, today announced that research published by Hydra Biosciences scientists and collaborators at Yale University for the first time identified the ion channel TRPA1 as playing an essential role in allergic asthma and demonstrated that Hydra’s TRPA1 antagonist HC-030031 effectively treated allergic asthma in mice. The paper, titled “A sensory neuronal ion channel essential for airway inflammation and hyperreactivity in asthma,” will appear this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

“This study demonstrates ? for the first time – that TRPA1 plays a key role in asthma,” said Sven-Eric Jordt, Ph.D, of Yale University, the paper’s lead author and a member of the Hydra Biosciences Scientific Advisory Board. “These data have extraordinary implications for treating asthma, and a number of other inflammatory conditions, in a completely new way, as we believe that blocking TRPA1 may prevent the infiltration of the lung by the inflammatory cells responsible for asthma symptoms such as wheezing and mucus overproduction.”

This breakthrough research could open a completely new avenue of drug treatment for asthma. There has been a dramatic increase in the number of asthma cases reported in recent decades. Scientists know that asthma involves an immune response to inhaled allergens that results in inflammation, mucus secretion and bronchial constriction. But the limited efficacies of therapies aimed at the immune system suggest that additional physiological mechanisms may be involved in asthmatic inflammation. Targeting the TRPA1 ion channel could represent a therapeutic breakthrough in the treatment of allergic asthma.

Hydra Biosciences, a leader in the field of TRP drug discovery, is currently developing a novel TRPA1 inhibitor and is advancing this drug candidate into human clinical trials within 12 months.

In the study, the research team evaluated the ability of a TRPA1 antagonist to inhibit TRPA1 function in a murine model of asthma. The antagonist successfully alleviated inflammation, airway constriction, and mucus overproduction associated with allergic asthma. Genetic deletion of TRPA1 in mice elicited similar effects, confirming the central role of TRPA1 in asthma.

“The finding that TRPA1 plays an essential role in allergic asthma is revolutionary, and suggests that a drug candidate that successfully modulates this ion channel has the potential to treat asthma and other allergic inflammatory conditions,” said Russell Herndon, Chief Executive Officer, Hydra. “Due to our experience and expertise with TRP ion channels, Hydra is on the leading edge in this field, and we are aggressively advancing a TRPA1 drug candidate into clinical studies within 12 months.”


Hydra Biosciences has established a broad patent portfolio around TRPA1 in addition to having exclusively in-licensed a broad portfolio of intellectual property related to ion channels from Children’s Hospital in Boston.

Online copies of the article can be obtained at http://www.pnas.org

About Ion Channels

Aberrant ion channel activity has been implicated in many diseases, including hypertension, cardiac arrhythmias, gastrointestinal disorders, cystic fibrosis and pathological pain. Many drugs on the market today act on ion channels, either directly or indirectly, including calcium channel blockers for hypertension and angina, and sodium channel blockers for pain. Hydra Biosciences’ TRP channel discovery program has identified numerous modulators predicted to impact diseases such as pain and inflammation, hypertension and pulmonary diseases. Many of these modulators have been shown to be efficacious in animal models of disease. In addition, ion channels have been successful drug targets, with modulators of ion flux representing up to 17 percent of world pharmaceutical sales.

About Hydra Biosciences

Hydra Biosciences, a biopharmaceutical company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, develops drugs to treat pain, inflammation, pulmonary diseases and other disorders using its expertise in novel ion channels. Hydra Biosciences’ proprietary platforms enable the company to identify and develop drug candidates that address significant unmet medical needs. More information about Hydra Biosciences is available at: www.hydrabiosciences.com.

The material in this press release comes from the originating research organization. Content may be edited for style and length. Want more? Sign up for our daily email.