BASEL, Switzerland, July 1, 2016 /PRNewswire/ --
Strekin AG today announced oral and poster presentations of preclinical data on the efficacy and mechanism of STR001 in the treatment of hearing loss at the Molecular Biology of Hearing and Deafness Conference, Cambridge, UK.
The presentation (#S79), was titled "Agonists of the peroxisome proliferator activated receptors-gamma and -alpha afford significant protection of auditory hair cells from gentamicin-induced ototoxicity". Researchers observed that the PPAR agonist pioglitazone, the active ingredient in STR001, was highly effective in preventing damage to the sensory hair cells of the inner ear. The research was led by Daniel Bodmer, MD, PhD, Chairman of the Department of Otolaryngology Head & Neck Surgery at the University Hospital of Basel in Switzerland and co-founder of Strekin.
"Today, despite urgent need, there are no medicines available specifically approved for the treatment of hearing loss," said Dr. Bodmer. "The findings presented today are encouraging because the efficacy of STR001 and related compounds is highly meaningful. The pathways targeted by STR001 have high relevance for hearing loss, and the data presented today suggest multiple protective mechanisms that together provide a strong rationale for the further development of STR001."
The medical implications of STR001 are presently investigated in a large Phase 2 clinical trial in patients, testing the effect of the drug to preserve residual hearing in patients receiving a cochlear implant.
About the Presented Research
Dr. Bodmer's analysis was based on studies in a model in hearing research in which the organ of Corti, the structure which contains auditory hair and sensory cells, is studied in tissue culture. Treatment of these cultures with gentamicin, a widely used antibiotic that often leads to hearing loss, caused destruction of 50% of the hair cells. STR001 provided significant protection, allowing survival of more than 90% of the hair cells in the presence of this agent. Further analysis showed that gentamicin induced the production of oxygen free radicals leading to oxidative stress, known to cause modification and damage to cellular proteins, lipids, and DNA. STR001 prevented oxygen free radical formation by regulating the expression of proteins in several pathways of the cellular defense from oxidative stress. This is just one of many potential protective mechanisms for STR001, as its cellular receptor has been shown to play additional roles in diverse cellular processes such as metabolism, inflammation, and cell survival.
Strekin is a privately held clinical-stage Life Sciences company located in Basel, Switzerland. Strekin aims to discover the untapped therapeutic potential of existing drugs for new indications to transform the lives of patients. Strekin is led by an experienced team with a strong track-record in research and successful clinical development. Strekin has secured funding to complete the phase 2 study of STR001 and to prepare further clinical development with the support of investors or partners.
About Hearing Loss
According to the World Health Organization, 642 million people around the world today suffer from disabling hearing loss. Of these, 181 million are children. Daily activities that most people take for granted, like having a conversation, enjoying music, and advancing in the workplace, are difficult or impossible for individuals suffering from hearing loss. The occurrence of sensorineural hearing loss is predicted to rise in the future due to increasing exposure to noise and aging of populations. Hearing impairment has become a major global health issue with profound societal and economic impact. With no approved pharmaceutical therapies available today, there is renewed urgency to develop effective treatments.
CEO, Strekin AG