PRS-220 is an oral inhaled Anticalin protein targeting connective tissue growth factor (CTGF), also known as CCN2, for the treatment of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). IPF affects over three million patients worldwide and roughly 130,000 patients in the United States. Mean survival is two to five years from the time of diagnosis, with standard of care conferring only modest benefit. CTGF, a protein localized in the extracellular matrix, is a driver of fibrotic tissue remodeling as a consequence of an aberrant wound healing process. Over-expression of this target in lung tissue is observed in patients suffering from IPF, and clinical data indicate inhibition of CTGF reduces the decline in lung function among these patients.
Pieris has also received a grant from the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs, Regional Development and Energy for the research and development of PRS-220 for post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection (PASC) pulmonary fibrosis (PASC-PF), also known as post-COVID-19 syndrome pulmonary fibrosis or “long COVID”. The critical function of CTGF in fibrosis, as well as its induced expression upon tissue injury and fibrotic remodeling, render it a compelling intervention for PASC-PF. Persistent symptoms following severe COVID-19 have been reported by different studies in more than one third of hospitalized patients. Pathological changes include impairment of lung function and reduced diffusion capacity of lung for carbon monoxide (DLCO), as well as radiologically detected interstitial lung abnormalities indicative of fibrotic-like impairment of lung tissues. A sub-population of these patients is expected to benefit from an anti-fibrotic treatment, such as PRS-220. There is currently no approved therapy to address PASC-PF.