BRISBANE, Calif., Sept. 17 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- InterMune, Inc. (Nasdaq: ITMN) today announced that it will be collaborating with National Jewish Health(R)( )investigators in order to help further the research of inherited genetic factors that may play a role in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). InterMune will provide researchers at National Jewish with access to DNA collected from patients who participated in the Company's Phase 3 clinical trials in IPF for both pirfenidone (CAPACITY trials) and Actimmune(R) (interferon gamma-1b) (INSPIRE).
The database, which includes DNA from approximately 1,500 IPF patients, is the largest in the world and offers researchers an opportunity to gain important new insights regarding the pathogenesis of this devastating disease. This announcement comes during the 2009 National Pulmonary Fibrosis (PF) Awareness Week, which is taking place this year September 14 - 21, 2009.
"This is an ideal partnership that will enhance our chances to make breakthroughs in understanding the causes of this disease, the optimal diagnostic strategies and the best prognosticators for patient outcomes," said David Schwartz, MD, the principal investigator of this research.
"We are pleased to be able to partner with National Jewish Health, one of the world's leading institutions in pulmonary medicine, in this important pursuit to better understand the role that genetic factors may play in the development of IPF, a disease that claims approximately 40,000 lives per year," said Dan Welch, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President of InterMune. "With nearly a decade of experience in IPF research and development, we are committed toward advancing care for patients with this uniformly fatal disease who currently have no treatment option."
Pulmonary fibrosis has been a major focus of research at National Jewish Health for several decades. Dr. David Schwartz and his colleagues at National Jewish Health, the University of Colorado, Vanderbilt University, and Duke University have been funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute to pursue a series of studies designed to identify the genes that predispose individuals to develop fibrosis, to develop novel approaches to classifying this disease process using genetic and molecular tools, and to develop biomarkers for this disease that will lead to earlier recognition and more effective treatment. The collaboration with InterMune helps make these studies possible and builds on the extensive clinical database that InterMune established through their work in pulmonary fibrosis.
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a disabling and ultimately fatal disease that affects approximately 250,000 people in the United States and Europe combined, with approximately 30,000 new cases reported per year in each of the United States and Europe. IPF is characterized by inflammation and scarring (fibrosis) in the lungs, hindering the ability to process oxygen and causing shortness of breath (dyspnea) and cough and is a progressive disease, meaning that over time, lung scarring and symptoms increase in severity. The median survival time from diagnosis is two to five years, with a five-year survival rate of approximately 20%. Patients diagnosed with IPF are usually between the ages of 40 and 70, with a median age of 63 years and the disease tends to affect slightly more men than women. There are no medicines approved by the FDA or EMEA for the treatment of IPF.
InterMune is a biotechnology company focused on the research, development and commercialization of innovative therapies in pulmonology and hepatology. InterMune has an R&D portfolio addressing idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections. The pulmonology portfolio includes pirfenidone for which a Phase 3 program in patients with IPF (CAPACITY) has been completed and the compound is currently in the pre-registration stage. The company also has a research program focused on a pirfenidone analog named ITMN-520. The hepatology portfolio includes the HCV protease inhibitor compound ITMN-191 (referred to as RG7227 at Roche) expected to enter Phase 2b in the summer of 2009 and a second-generation HCV protease inhibitor research program. For additional information about InterMune and its R&D pipeline, please visit www.intermune.com.
About National Jewish Health
National Jewish Health is known worldwide for treatment of patients with respiratory, immune and related disorders, and for groundbreaking medical research. Founded in 1899 as a nonprofit hospital, National Jewish Health provides the best integrated and innovative care for patients and their families; seeks to understand and find cures for the diseases we research; and educates and trains the next generation of healthcare professionals to be leaders in medicine and science. We pursue this vision by pioneering individualized medicine programs which embrace the paradigm shift from reactive medicine to proactive, personalized healthcare. For 11 consecutive years, U.S. News & World Report has ranked National Jewish Health the No. 1 respiratory hospital in the nation. Scholarly publisher Thomson Scientific has ranked National Jewish among the 25 most influential research institutions in the world in its areas of focus. Further information can be found by visiting www.nationaljewish.org.
SOURCE InterMune, Inc.