Atopic Dermatitis (AD ) is a chronic inflammatory skin condition characterized by intense itching and rash. AD afflicts 15-30% of children and 2-10% of adults. Family stress related to caring for children with moderate or severe AD from sleep deprivation, loss of employment, time-consuming treatment, and financial costs may rival those related to caring for children with type 1 diabetes.
Successful treatment of AD requires a multipronged approach including the restoration of the skin barrier, the inhibition of the inflammatory reaction in the skin, and relief from the itch. Among these strategies, an immediate and sustained relief of itch is a critical because scratching further damages the epidermal barrier, worsens inflammation, and can lead to excoriation and infections. AD is usually managed with topical corticosteroids and other anti-inflammatory drugs, sometimes accompanied by sedating antihistamines for sleep-disturbing itch. Compounds that interfere with the pathophysiology of pruritus (capsaicin, mast cell stabilizers, leukotriene antagonists, opiate antagonists) are also available, although some of these treatment modalities have limited or contradictory efficacy data. Recently, dupilumab, a monoclonal antibody, was approved for use in treating AD, however with a reported cost in excess of $30,000 per year; it may be cost prohibitive for many.
Our clinical candidate, NCT10004, has been shown to rapidly eliminate itch and resolve dermatitis in model studies. If successful in reaching the market, it will help address the unmet medical need that exists for effective and affordable treatment options.