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Synairgen in Drug Partnership Talks After Study Results

September 03, 2012

Synairgen Plc (SNG) is in talks with potential partners following the results of a study of an experimental medicine targeting infections that trigger asthma attacks, Chief Executive Officer Richard Marsden said.

Synairgen is speaking with larger drugmakers that will help the company with regulatory filings and marketing the product, SNG001, Marsden said in an interview at the European Respiratory Society’s annual meeting in Vienna yesterday.

In a mid-stage study of 134 adults who caught a cold, SNG001 was effective in the most difficult-to-treat patients, preventing asthma symptoms from getting worse during the first week of infection and treatment. There was also a 65 percent reduction in the number of patients who experienced asthma attacks during the treatment period compared with a group on placebo, the company said.

The results are “critical to the partnership discussions,” Marsden said. “This is the patient group most in need of new approaches and is an area of great interest for the large biotech and pharma companies that we are talking to.”

Synairgen rose 6 percent, the biggest gain in two months, to 44 pence at the close of trading in London. That gave the Southampton, England-based company a market value of 33.1 million pounds ($52.6 million).

Targeting Infections

SNG001 is a beta interferon treatment that works by targeting virus infections, which trigger 80 percent of asthma attacks. The drug is aimed at the 10 percent to 20 percent of patients infected by a virus who don’t respond to the maximum doses of approved asthma treatments. Beta interferon is well- established in treating multiple sclerosis, which makes the development of SNG001 less risky, Marsden said.

“They are thinking about asthma in a different way,” said Daniel Mahony, a health-care fund manager at Polar Capital LLP in London, which holds 2 percent of Synairgen’s outstanding shares. “They’re addressing the cause of the disease and not the effects. All the big boys in asthma should be looking at this.”

Synairgen is also studying SNG001 for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or smoker’s cough, and is preparing to approach the U.S. Department of Defense and National Institutes of Health to help develop the drug for use in combating potential bio-terrorism attacks, Marsden said.

Sales of the medicine could reach “billions” of dollars for each of the asthma and smoker’s cough indications, he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Makiko Kitamura in London at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Phil Serafino at

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