AesRx (ǽs-r-ex) is a biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the development of two novel drugs, each of which targets an orphan disease.
AesRx’s lead program, Aes-103, is a potential breakthrough in the treatment of sickle cell disease. AesRx has commenced clinical trials of Aes-103 in a collaboration with the NIH. AesRx holds the IND for Aes-103.
Sickle cell disease is a recessive disorder of the hemoglobin which can cause red blood cells to deform into rigid sickle shapes that block capillaries and other small blood vessels. This blockage can lead to a wide range of serious, sometimes life-threatening, conditions including: chronic hemolytic anemia, chronic pain and acute painful crisis, stroke, acute chest syndrome, and cumulative damage to tissues and organs.
More than 13 million individuals world-wide suffer from sickle cell disease, with over 75,000 of these in the US and more than 40,000 in Europe. Sickle cell is recognized in the US as an orphan disease and current treatment options for sickle cell patients are inadequate.
Aes-103, is a small molecule (Da 126) discovered by researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University. It works by increasing the affinity of sickle hemoglobin for oxygen. Because only red blood cells with no bound oxygen will sickle, increasing the ability of sickle red blood cells to bind oxygen reduces the number of cells that can sickle. Aes-103 is orally bio-available. This means it can potentially be given in pill form.
AesRx’s second development program, Aes-210, is targeted to treat certain inflammatory diseases of the lower intestine, including distal ulcerative colitis, pouchitis and radiation induced proctitis. These diseases can have a devastating impact on the lives of those afflicted. Existing therapies are inadequate and many patients do not respond. The Company estimates 400,000-500,000 individuals suffer from these diseases world-wide. Aes-210 is currently undergoing a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase 2 study. Initial data from that study are highly encouraging.
AesRx is named after Aesculapius (ǽs-kyә-'la-pē-us), son of Apollo. According to Greek mythology, he learned the healing arts from the centaur Chiron and was the first human physician.