How hormonal and other changes affect asthma incidence and response to treatment in women.

Research indicates asthma during early childhood is more prevalent in boys vs girls, with reported rates of 11.9% and 7.5%, respectively, and that this pattern begins to shift around the time of puberty. For adults, the estimated prevalence of asthma is 6.3% in men vs 9.6% in women. Adult women with asthma also experience greater disease severity, more frequent hospitalizations, and worse quality of life compared with men who have asthma.

Investigations into the association between hormonal changes experienced by women and asthma incidence suggest that sex hormones may play an important role in the pathogenesis of the disease.

In addition to puberty as a critical timepoint in the disease course, the available evidence suggests heightened risks for asthma onset and exacerbation in women around menstruation and pregnancy. Multiple studies have demonstrated an increase in asthma symptoms during the pre- and peri-menstrual period in 20% to 40% of women, and other research has found higher rates of health care utilization, hospitalization, and oral corticosteroid use in pre- and peri-menstrual women compared with women without pre- and peri-menstrual asthma. Read more here.

Asthma Biologics Pharma Company Bain Capital Life Sciences Receives Funding

Bain Capital Life Sciences is at it again. Biotech’s go-to source for big-ticket financing rounds has stepped up to lead a $350 million series A round in Areteia Therapeutics, positioning the newly created startup to run phase 3 trials of an asthma candidate designed to have biologiclike efficacy in an oral dosage form.

Knopp Biosciences created Areteia with private equity firm Population Health Partners to take its oral small molecule dexpramipexole into late-phase clinical trials. The molecule caught the eye of the asthma community early last year when Knopp linked it to significant reductions in blood eosinophils in a phase 2 clinical trial. Jorge Bartolome, then the president of Canada for Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen unit, was among the people who sat up and took notice when the data became public.  

“We were able to see an 80% reduction in eosinophilia. That’s similar to what you saw with biologic therapy,” said Bartolome, who has been appointed CEO of Areteia. “It was dose dependent, and we saw a 250-mL improvement in lung function. Obviously, that created significant excitement, both at Knopp as well as in the investor community. And so we decided to launch an organization that is fully dedicated to asthma and improving the lives of asthmatic patients.” Read more here.