Novel Skin Protectant Retinoid for the Treatment of Psoriasis

Period of Performance: 09/01/2013 - 08/31/2014


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Sunny Biodiscovery, Inc.
Santa Clara, CA 95050
Principal Investigator


DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Psoriasis is a chronic skin disease affecting 2% of the world population. It is characterized by immune infiltrates in lesions and hyperkeratosis, and can be partially remediated with prescription medicines, such as topical retinoids. Despite their great potential, current topical retinoid drugs are typically used at suboptimal doses, due to their side effects. Adverse effects, which include skin irritation, photosensitivity and teratogenicity are common to all 1st and 2nd generation retinoids. While the 3rd generation of retinoids appears to have a better teratogenicity safety profile, its skin-adverse effects such as erythema, scaling, dryness, pruritus, and burning are not improved, affecting 10-40% of patients. In an attempt to discover retinoid-like functional compounds with minimal adverse effects, we screened libraries of natural compounds from plants traditionally used for the treatment of skin diseases, with the emphasis on psoriasis. Our research yielded one product candidate (SBD.073) with desired similar gene expression profile to retinol in human skin substitutes (using DNA microarrays) but without any skin irritation, as determined by repeat insult patch test in humans. In further human studies, SBD.073 has been found to be not only non-irritant and non-phototoxic, but, to the contrary, to protect skin from UV-induced erythema. Mechanistic studies showed that, similarly to retinol, SBD.073 induced F9 cell differentiation and normalized structure of the dermal-epidermal junction, but unlike retinol, it did not stimulate the expression of RARG1 - the receptor implicated in skin irritation. Moreover, this retinoid analogue was found to have an excellent anti oxidant and anti-inflammatory activity and no mutagenicity. Here, we propose to validate the proof of principle that SBD.073 is a unique drug-candidate for a greatly improved topical treatment of psoriasis in a comparative study with the existing topical retinoid treatments. We will use a combination of psoriasis-relevant assays, such as TNF-a and IL-17/IL-22 - stimulated organotypic skin substitutes, and animal models (orthokeratosis in mouse tail test, urticuli normalization in rhino mouse and teratogenesis in NMRI mouse) to demonstrate that SBD.073 exceeds the therapeutic activity of current topical retinoid treatment modalities, while having second- to-none safety and tolerance profile. Taken together, this project should result in the establishment of a proof of principle that SBD.073 is the first skin-protectant retinol analogue fo a greatly improved topical therapy of psoriatic lesions.