Synairgen has announced that AstraZeneca has initiated its Phase IIa clinical trial of the drug AZD9412.

The drug, which was originally developed by Synairgen (SNG001), is inhaled interferon beta that supports the immune system by correcting a deficiency that makes patients vulnerable to respiratory tract viral infections.

For the clinical trial, the researchers will recruit patients suffering with severe asthma. The study will build on the clinical results from the company’s exploratory Phase lla clinical study, which assessed the drug in patients with mild to severe asthma. The study results revealed that difficult to treat asthma patients seemed to gain more benefits from the drug.

In June 2014, the program was out-licensed by Synairgen to AstraZeneca in a global agreement value of up to $232 million plus tiered royalties. Under the agreement, AstraZeneca has the responsibility to develop the therapy and be held responsible for all the commercial and regulatory activities as well as with the on-going costs related to the program.

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