Cathepsin S plays a key role in the pathology of autoimmune disease and in the maintenance of neuropathic pain. Genetic and pharmacologic inhibition of cathepsin S results in amelioration of disease in pharmacology models.
VBY-891, is a potent and selective cathepsin S inhibitor. We have licensed VBY-891 on a worldwide basis to LEO Pharma A/S, or LEO, a leading dermatology-focused pharmaceutical company, for specific dermatological indications. Similar to Crohn’s disease, psoriasis is an autoimmune disease in which cathepsin S may play a significant role in activating the immune system.
In collaboration with LEO, we are developing VBY-891 as an oral treatment for moderate-to- severe psoriasis. We believe VBY-891 will be an attractive therapeutic option for patients suffering from psoriasis with a convenient, oral dosage form and fewer side effects than current therapies.
We have completed a Phase 1 clinical trial with VBY-891 in 89 healthy volunteers, and we plan to advance VBY-891 into a Phase 2 clinical trial in approximately 64 subjects with moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis in the first half of 2015 and expect to receive results in the first half of 2016. Moderate-to-severe psoriasis affects approximately 1.4 million adults in the United States. In 2013, moderate-to-severe psoriasis therapies generated sales of more than $3.6 billion in the United States.