Novel Retinoids Offer Acne Treatment

helping patients with acne

Acne affects people of all ages, and can have serious physical and emotional consequences. Biologically active retinoids, of which all-trans retinoic acid is the prototype, are potent drugs that can be used to control the condition. However, while retinoids can be an effective treatment for acne, their toxicity can cause significant skin inflammation and side effects.

University of Michigan’s James Varani, Ph.D., Department of Pathology, has developed a new family of retinoids that are comparable to current all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA)-containing products, but without skin irritation and other side effects.

While the team’s initial efforts are directed toward developing a topical agent for acne, a non-irritating retinoid with efficacy comparable to ATRA could eventually have several therapeutic uses, including as a potential systemic treatment for cancer, in the treatment of other inflammatory skin diseases such as psoriasis, and as an ingredient in anti-aging products.

Significant Need

Acne affects a majority of the population ages 15-17 and is severe in 15-20 percent of these cases. And while it’s known as a disease of adolescents, acne affects up to 64 percent of individuals 20-29 years old and 43 percent of the population 30-39 years old.

Compelling Science

Unlike ATRA, the novel retinoids that the team has developed upregulate the pro-inflammatory cytokines (regulators of host responses that create the inflammatory and skin irritation response) much less.

Competitive Advantage

The non-irritating retinoids with efficacy comparable to ATRA could eventually have several therapeutic uses, including as a potential systemic treatment for cancer, in the treatment of other inflammatory skin diseases such as psoriasis, and as an ingredient in anti-aging products.

Overall Commercialization

  • Commercialization Strategy: Create a topical treatment for acne followed by systemic acne therapeutic, topical for skin repair and cancer
  • Intellectual Property: A relevant patent protection application has been filed
  • Regulatory Pathway: Complete safety studies followed by an IND submission, conduct clinical investigations, and apply for FDA approval
  • Product Launch Strategy: To be determined by licensee

Milestones

  • Relevant provisional patent applications filed
  • Created a business plan targeting novel retinoids for acne and other dermatological indications
  • Discussions with potential co-development or funding partners underway
March 20, 2019
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