PharMac LLC

Boca Raton, FL, United States

PharMac LLC

Boca Raton, FL, United States
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Damsker J.M.,Reveragen Biopharma, Inc. | Conklin L.S.,The Surgical Center | Conklin L.S.,Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation | Sadri S.,The Surgical Center | And 8 more authors.
Inflammation Research | Year: 2016

Objective and design: The goal of this study was to assess the capacity of VBP15, a dissociative steroidal compound, to reduce pro-inflammatory cytokine expression in vitro, to reduce symptoms of colitis in the trinitrobenzene sulfonic acid-induced murine model, and to assess the effect of VBP15 on growth stunting in juvenile mice. Materials: In vitro studies were performed in primary human intestinal epithelial cells. Colitis was induced in mice by administering trinitrobenzene sulfonic acid. Growth stunting studies were performed in wild type outbred mice. Treatment: Cells were treated with VBP15 or prednisolone (10 μM) for 24 h. Mice were subjected to 3 days of VBP15 (30 mg/kg) or prednisolone (30 mg/kg) in the colitis study. In the growth stunting study, mice were subjected to VBP15 (10, 30, 45 mg/kg) or prednisolone (10 mg/kg) for 5 weeks. Methods: Cytokines were measured by PCR and via Luminex. Colitis symptoms were evaluated by assessing weight loss, intestinal blood, and stool consistency. Growth stunting was assessed using an electronic caliper. Results: VBP15 significantly reduced the in vitro production of CCL5 (p < 0.001) IL-6 (p < 0.001), IL-8 (p < 0.05) and reduced colitis symptoms (p < 0.05). VBP15 caused less growth stunting than prednisolone (p < 0.001) in juvenile mice. Conclusion: VBP15 may reduce symptoms of IBD, while decreasing or avoiding detrimental side effects. © 2016, Springer International Publishing.

Heier C.R.,Center for Genetic Medicine Research | Damsker J.M.,Reveragen Biopharma, Inc. | Yu Q.,Center for Genetic Medicine Research | Dillingham B.C.,Center for Genetic Medicine Research | And 32 more authors.
EMBO Molecular Medicine | Year: 2013

Absence of dystrophin makes skeletal muscle more susceptible to injury, resulting in breaches of the plasma membrane and chronic inflammation in Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). Current management by glucocorticoids has unclear molecular benefits and harsh side effects. It is uncertain whether therapies that avoid hormonal stunting of growth and development, and/or immunosuppression, would be more or less beneficial. Here, we discover an oral drug with mechanisms that provide efficacy through anti-inflammatory signaling and membrane-stabilizing pathways, independent of hormonal or immunosuppressive effects. We find VBP15 protects and promotes efficient repair of skeletal muscle cells upon laser injury, in opposition to prednisolone. Potent inhibition of NF-κB is mediated through protein interactions of the glucocorticoid receptor, however VBP15 shows significantly reduced hormonal receptor transcriptional activity. The translation of these drug mechanisms into DMD model mice improves muscle strength, live-imaging and pathology through both preventive and post-onset intervention regimens. These data demonstrate successful improvement of dystrophy independent of hormonal, growth, or immunosuppressive effects, indicating VBP15 merits clinical investigation for DMD and would benefit other chronic inflammatory diseases. © 2013 The Authors. Published by John Wiley and Sons, Ltd on behalf of EMBO.

Dillingham B.C.,Research Center for Genetic Medicine | Knoblach S.M.,Research Center for Genetic Medicine | Knoblach S.M.,George Washington University | Many G.M.,Research Center for Genetic Medicine | And 15 more authors.
Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology | Year: 2015

Multiple sclerosis is a chronic disease of the central nervous system characterized by an autoimmune inflammatory reaction that leads to axonal demyelination and tissue damage. Glucocorticoids, such as prednisolone, are effective in the treatment of multiple sclerosis in large part due to their ability to inhibit pro-inflammatory pathways (e.g., NFκB). However, despite their effectiveness, long-term treatment is limited by adverse side effects. VBP15 is a recently described compound synthesized based on the lazeroid steroidal backbone that shows activity in acute and chronic inflammatory conditions, yet displays a much-reduced side effect profile compared to traditional glucocorticoids. The purpose of this study was to determine the effectiveness of VBP15 in inhibiting inflammation and disease progression in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), a widely used mouse model of multiple sclerosis. Our data show that VBP15 is effective at reducing both disease onset and severity. In parallel studies, we observed that VBP15 was able to inhibit the production of NFκB-regulated pro-inflammatory transcripts in human macrophages. Furthermore, treatment with prednisolone—but not VBP15—increased expression of genes associated with bone loss and muscle atrophy, suggesting lack of side effects of VBP15. These findings suggest that VBP15 may represent a potentially safer alternative to traditional glucocorticoids in the treatment of multiple sclerosis and other inflammatory diseases. © 2014, Springer Science+Business Media New York.

Damsker J.M.,Reveragen Biopharma, Inc. | Dillingham B.C.,Reveragen Biopharma, Inc. | Dillingham B.C.,Research Center for Genetic Medicine | Rose M.C.,Research Center for Genetic Medicine | And 26 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013

Asthma is a chronic inflammatory condition of the lower respiratory tract associated with airway hyperreactivity and mucus obstruction in which a majority of cases are due to an allergic response to environmental allergens. Glucocorticoids such as prednisone have been standard treatment for many inflammatory diseases for the past 60 years. However, despite their effectiveness, long-term treatment is often limited by adverse side effects believed to be caused by glucocorticoid receptor-mediated gene transcription. This has led to the pursuit of compounds that retain the anti-inflammatory properties yet lack the adverse side effects associated with traditional glucocorticoids. We have developed a novel series of steroidal analogues (VBP compounds) that have been previously shown to maintain anti-inflammatory properties such as NFκB-inhibition without inducing glucocorticoid receptor-mediated gene transcription. This study was undertaken to determine the effectiveness of the lead compound, VBP15, in a mouse model of allergic lung inflammation. We show that VBP15 is as effective as the traditional glucocorticoid, prednisolone, at reducing three major hallmarks of lung inflammation-NFκB activity, leukocyte degranulation, and pro-inflammatory cytokine release from human bronchial epithelial cells obtained from patients with asthma. Moreover, we found that VBP15 is capable of reducing inflammation of the lung in vivo to an extent similar to that of prednisone. We found that prednisolone-but not VBP15 shortens the tibia in mice upon a 5 week treatment regimen suggesting effective dissociation of side effects from efficacy. These findings suggest that VBP15 may represent a potent and safer alternative to traditional glucocorticoids in the treatment of asthma and other inflammatory diseases. © 2013 Damsker et al.

Reeves E.K.M.,Reveragen Biopharma, Inc. | Hoffman E.P.,Reveragen Biopharma, Inc. | Hoffman E.P.,Center for Genetic Medicine Research | Hoffman E.P.,George Washington University | And 6 more authors.
Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry | Year: 2013

Δ9,11 modifications of glucocorticoids (21-aminosteroids) have been developed as drugs for protection against cell damage (lipid peroxidation; lazaroids) and inhibition of neovascularization (anecortave). Part of the rationale for developing these compounds has been the loss of glucocorticoid receptor binding due to the Δ9,11 modification, thus avoiding many immunosuppressive activities and deleterious side effect profiles associated with binding to glucocorticoid and mineralocorticoid receptors. We recently demonstrated that anecortave acetate and its 21-hydroxy analog (VBP1) do, in fact, show glucocorticoid and mineralocorticoid receptor binding activities, with potent translocation of the glucocorticoid receptor to the cell nucleus. We concluded that Δ9,11 steroids showed novel anti-inflammatory properties, retaining NF-κB inhibition, but losing deleterious glucocorticoid side effect profiles. Evidence for this was developed in pre-clinical trials of chronic muscle inflammation. Here, we describe a drug development program aimed at optimizing the Δ9,11 chemistry. Twenty Δ9,11 derivatives were tested in in vitro screens for NF-κB inhibition and GR translocation to the nucleus, and low cell toxicity. VBP15 was selected as the lead compound due to potent NF-κB inhibition and GR translocation similar to prednisone and dexamethasone, lack of transactivation properties, and good bioavailability. Phamacokinetics were similar to traditional glucocorticoid drugs with terminal half-life of 0.35 h (mice), 0.58 h (rats), 5.42 h (dogs), and bioavailability of 74.5% (mice), and 53.2% (dogs). Metabolic stability showed ≥80% remaining at 1 h of VBP6 and VBP15 in human, dog, and monkey liver microsomes. Solubility, permeability and plasma protein binding were within acceptable limits. VBP15 moderately induced CYP3A4 across the three human hepatocyte donors (24-42%), similar to other steroids. VBP15 is currently under development for treatment of Duchenne muscular dystrophy. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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