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Novartis gets Indian patent for NLRP3 Inflammasome inhibitors

Gireesh Babu, New Delhi
Thursday, May 4, 2023, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

Swiss pharma major Novartis AG has received an Indian patent for its NOD like receptor protein 3 (NLRP3) inflammasome inhibitors which could be used to treat a large number of inflammatory diseases which are caused by a faulty NLRP3 pathway. Companies including Novartis have been pursuing the potential for NLRP3 inflammasome inhibitors to find new ways to treat chronic diseases from Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, to osteoarthritis among others.

Novartis filed the application for patent for the invention NLRP3 inflammasome inhibitors with the Indian Patent Office on May 15, 2020 and it was published on November 20, 2020. The patent has been granted by the Deputy Controller of Patents & Designs, on May 2, 2023, for the term of 20 years from May 15, 2020 in accordance with the provisions of the Patents Act.

The company has been pursuing research for the inflammasome inhibitors and in 2019, acquired the portfolio of immunomodulatory medicine through the acquisition of IFM Tre, a subsidiary of IFM Therapeutics LLC focused on developing anti-inflammatory medicines targeting the NLRP3 inflammasome. With the acquisition, the company received full rights on IFM Tre’s portfolio of NLRP3 inhibitors.

The NLRP3 (nucleotide-binding domain, leucine-rich repeat-containing receptor pyrin domain containing 3) pathway plays a critical role in the body's innate immune system, serving as a danger sensor for pathogens like bacteria and viruses as well as for endogenous signals of tissue damage or metabolic disorders.

When activated, NLRP3 triggers an inflammatory response via the assembly of a multi-protein complex called the inflammasome. NLRP3 inflammasome activation has been linked to various inflammasome-related diseases or disorders, immune, inflammatory and auto-immune diseases and auto-inflammatory diseases including sickle cell disease, liver related diseases, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), chronic liver disease, viral hepatitis, inflammatory arthritis related disorders including gout, kidney related diseases, and various neuroinflammation related disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, and cardiovascular and metabolic disease, among others.

There is a need for inhibitors of the NLRP3 inflammasome pathway to provide new or alternative treatments for these inflammasome-related diseases and disorders. Preclinical studies have shown that IFM Tre's molecules can selectively suppress inflammation caused by the NLRP3 inflammasome while allowing the rest of the immune system to continue normal operations, said the company during the time of acquisition.

According to a post by Elizabeth Dougherty, a science writer at the Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research, in Novartis website, the NLRP3 is a danger sensor which recognises crystals, protein aggregates and unhealthy cellular stress, and when it senses these dangers, it will form into an inflammasome, which resembles a microscopic ray gun, which send out alerts to the rest of the immune system to launch an inflammatory response to address the problem. However, if the NLRP3 sensor is stuck in the alert mode, due to mutations or chronic diseases, it can send out constant danger signals which may create trouble.

According to reports, Swiss firms including Roche, Novartis, and Novo Nordisk, apart from various other research firms are pursuing the potential of developing drugs based on the NLRP3 inflammasome inhibitors.


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