Charting A New Course For Chronic Cough Treatment

April 23, 2024 / New Investments

Chronic cough, particularly when it extends beyond 8 weeks into what is known as refractory chronic cough (RCC), represents a substantial health challenge. With its prevalence globally ranging from 2% to 18%, RCC places a significant burden on individuals and healthcare systems due to its profound physical and psychological impact on patients. Of the currently recommended treatments, most exhibit limited evidence, and many are used off-label, do not address the underlying pathology, have limited efficacy, and produce significant side-effects.

This highlights a critical unmet need for innovative therapeutic strategies that target the underlying mechanisms of RCC. Underlying the importance of supporting innovation in this space, as it is not only essential for developing effective treatments but also for advancing our understanding of RCC and similar respiratory ailments. Potentially leading to breakthroughs that could transform patient care and improve quality of life for millions.

Nocion Therapeutics is uniquely positioned to develop new treatments for chronic cough patients due to its innovative approach and targeted technology. The company is focusing on developing first and potentially best-in-class, small molecule, charged sodium channel blockers (CSCBs), known as “nocions”. These innovative compounds are designed to selectively silence activated nociceptors that are involved in the transmission of cough, itch, and pain signals.

Their lead program, Taplucanium Dry Powder for Inhalation, is currently being evaluated in a Phase 2b study for patients with chronic cough. This proprietary molecule represents a new class of CSCBs that allows for the specific silencing of activated/inflamed nociceptors. Unlike other investigational cough therapies, such as P2X3 antagonists which target a specific receptor, Taplucanium operates through any open Large Pore Channel (LPC) to inhibit the sodium channels responsible for initiating the pathological cough response. As broad sodium channel inhibitors are already used off-label for pulmonary irritation applications, Taplucanium could expand the clinical benefit as a potential new treatment option for chronic cough.

With a highly differentiated mechanism of action, Nocion presents a great opportunity to leverage recent learnings from chronic cough clinical studies, potentially offering a new therapeutic strategy that could benefit a broader population of chronic cough patients.

“Building upon decades of research of its esteemed scientific founders and long history of clinical experience with broad voltage-gated sodium channel inhibitors, we believe Nocion’ lead program and emerging products from its nociceptor-focused platform is well positioned to provide broad impact across several inflammatory diseases starting with chronic cough” stated Lu Han, Ph.D., Partner, Lumira Ventures. “We are proud to support the mission of the Nocion team alongside a distinguished group of co-investors to develop innovative treatments targeting major unmet needs.”

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