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Apr 08, 2013
 |  BioCentury  |  Emerging Company Profile

Ziarco: Scratching the allergic itch

Ziarco takes on abandoned Pfizer assets to tackle allergy, inflammation

Ziarco Pharma Ltd. emerged last year from a shuttered Pfizer Inc. R&D site in Sandwich, U.K., with a quartet of allergy and inflammation assets that otherwise would have been shelved and forgotten. The biotech's lead program for steroid-refractory atopic dermatitis could avoid toxicity issues that sidelined a competing program and could be first in class for the indication.

Last November, Ziarco in-licensed exclusive, worldwide rights to the assets. Pfizer received an equity stake and is eligible for milestones, plus royalties. Ziarco co-founder, President and CEO Mike Yeadon was VP and CSO of Pfizer's allergy and respiratory research unit at Sandwich.

The lead asset is ZPL-3893787, an oral histamine H4 receptor (HRH4; H4) antagonist that has completed Phase I testing for steroid-refractory atopic dermatitis.

Yeadon said H4 is highly expressed on immune cells such as eosinophils that are implicated in inflammatory disease pathology. He added the target "doesn't have the same functions as the other histamine receptors."

Although the actual function of H4 is not completely understood,...

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