Pliant Therapeutics, Inc. (Nasdaq: PLRX) is thrilled to present exciting data from its Phase 2a clinical trials and preclinical studies on bexotegrast (PLN-74809), its novel therapy for the treatment of fibrosis, at the 2023 American Thoracic Society International Conference. From May 19 through May 24, the medical community will be able to explore the potential of this promising new treatment as it seeks to become the future of treating fibrosis.
At this year’s ATS conference, compelling trial results were presented from Pliant Therapeutics’ Phase 2a INTEGRIS-IPF trial, indicating the potential for bexotegrast to advance into late-stage clinical development. These results mark an important step in the advancement of this promising therapy and provide a strong foundation for further research.
Professor Lisa H. Lancaster of Vanderbilt University Medical Center presented 12-week data from the INTEGRIS-IPF Phase 2a trial showing that bexotegrast was well tolerated in all four dose groups. Participants experienced a reduction in forced vital capacity (FVC) decline over 12 weeks, versus placebo, on and off background therapy.
Additionally, a dose-dependent downwards trend in the proportion of participants with forced vital capacity precent predicted (FVCpp) decline ≥10% was observed, indicating a possible antifibrotic effect. Qualitative lung fibrosis (QLF) imaging showed a decrease in serum biomarkers of collagen synthesis (PRO-C3 and PRO-C6) and ITGB6, further suggesting a promising outcome for those living with IPF.
Through the use of cultured fibrotic human precision-cut lung slices, scientists investigated the individual and combined effects of bexotegrast and existing IPF therapies such as nintedanib and pirfenidone on the pathogenesis-related gene expression in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Results from the differential gene expression analysis reveal that bexotegrast might not only stand on its own but can also reinforce the effects of these existing therapies.
Mahru An, Ph.D., Principal Scientist at Pliant, recently presented fascinating results from a study in which fibrotic human precision cut lung slices were treated with bexotegrast. This dual αVβ6/αVβ1 integrin inhibitor effectively reduces pro-fibrotic gene expression in key cell populations like CTHRC1-high expressing fibroblasts, as well as in pro-fibrotic genes such as COL1A1 and VIM.
Critically, the study also revealed the ability of bexotegrast to reduce alphaVbeta6-expressing abnormal basaloid cells situated close to areas of acute lung injury. This research is an exciting step forward in the application of single-cell transcriptomics to evaluate the mechamism of action of anti-fibrotic drugs, and could ultimately lead to much needed strategies to address fibreotic disease, such as IPF.
A new era of medicine could potentially be dawning with Pliant Therapeutics’ bexotegrast, and the exciting potential it holds for the future of healthcare. But, along with that potential comes risks that must be managed. These risks range from delays in planned clinical trials to the accuracy of estimates of expenses and timing of development, as well as Pliant’s reliance on others to complete key tasks.
Pliant is committed to transparency about these risks, which are addressed in our public filings including the Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2022 and the Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended March 31, 2023. We remain confident that the progress being made in our development will lead to a revolutionary way to treat a wide range of conditions, and we look forward to the potential positive change this could bring to the healthcare space.
About Pliant Therapeutics, Inc.
Pliant Therapeutics is developing a pipeline of innovative treatments to tackle fibrosis-related medical conditions. Their lead product candidate, bexotegrast (PLN-74809), is an oral small molecule dual selective inhibitor designed to treat idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and primary sclerosing cholangitis. The US Food and Drug Administration have granted Fast Track Designation and Orphan Drug Designation for both indications.
Pliant is also carrying out trials of the drug for treating nonalcoholic steatohepatitis and solid tumors, and have an active preclinical program targeting muscular dystrophies. This cutting-edge biopharmaceutical company is committed to discovering therapies that will help patients suffering from fibrosis and related conditions.