Enterprise Therapeutics has announced it has been awarded up to £5.7m of funding under the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s Therapeutics Development Award programme. The biopharmaceutical company, which is dedicated to the discovery and development of novel therapies to improve the lives of patients suffering with respiratory disease, will use the milestone funding to support clinical development of its ETD002 programme up to the end of Phase 2 trials.

Cystic fibrosis is a devastating and life-limiting genetic disease that affects mucus in the patient’s airways, making them harder to clear. Knock-on effects can include a heightened risk of respiratory infections, and rapid decline in lung function. It occurs when a protein known as the ‘cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator’, or CFTR, is either not made correctly by the body or isn’t made at all. There are a variety of different CFTR genotypes, but they all result in a significant reduction in the flow of chloride ions through CFTR.

The ETD002 programme involves the development of a first-in-class potentiator – an alternate ion channel to replace the chloride ion flow lost due to mutations in CFTR. Crucially, it is hoped that ETD002 will have the potential to treat all patients with cystic fibrosis, regardless of their CFTR genotype. The therapeutic is designed to target a specific calcium-activated chloride ion channel (TMEM16A), ultimately increasing fluid flow into the airways, thinning the mucus and making it easier to clear.

“We are delighted to receive such a significant award from the CF Foundation,” said Dr John Ford, CEO of Enterprise Therapeutics. “This funding will enable critical clinical research to be undertaken on our novel TMEM16A programme, and highlights the potential of chloride channel modulation to deliver innovative and effective treatments for all CF patients.”

Enteprise Therapeutics was founded in 2014 by three former Novartis respiratory researchers. Co-founder and CSO, Prof Martin Gosling is Chair of Molecular Pharmacology at the University of Sussex, which provides pharmacology lab space for the company’s research and holds some equity in the business.

The University also has four post-doctoral researchers fully funded by Enterprise Therapeutics carrying out research in its labs, in the Sussex Drug Discovery Centre within the School of Life Sciences.

Enterprise Therapeutics is a drug discovery company dedicated to the research and development of novel therapies for the treatment of respiratory diseases.