DocWire News recently spoke with Dr. Jim Woody, CEO of 180 Life Sciences, a company that develops new treatments for inflammation.
Dr. Woody and his team have now fully enrolled phase 2/3 study for the treatment of Dupuytren’s contracture.
See what he had to say.
DocWire News: Can you talk to us about yourself and the company, 180 Life Sciences?
Dr. Jim Woody: Sure. I’m a pediatric immunologist and have been involved in Biotech for quite a few years. In my earlier days, I was chief scientific officer at a company called Centocor. They were the very first ones to use an antibody to inhibit cytokines in the blood. The cytokine they inhibited was TNF, tumor necrosis factor, and that resulted in therapies for rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s, and psoriasis, which has actually changed the lives of those people and now the follow-on products. So I’ve moved through venture capital and ran some big organizations. In July of last year I agreed to be CEO of 180 LS where we brought together our colleagues that had helped develop anti TNFs and several other therapies. So our new company is off the ground and we’re doing some very cool things.
DocWire News: Can you speak on the recent study that was conducted for the treatment of Dupuytren’s contracture?
Dr. Jim Woody: Sure. Dupuytren’s is a condition where a small nodule begins to form in the palm of your hand. And the nodule gradually gets bigger and it actually pulls your fingers together so they’re contracted. So you couldn’t type, you couldn’t play an instrument, you couldn’t button your clothes. And about 11 million people in the US have it. About the same in the European union. And this goes on for some time. All of the current therapies for Dupuytren’s contracture are after you have the disease. So you’re already disabled. 180 LS has figured out how to prevent this from moving forward altogether.
And we did that by our scientists looking at what mediators were driving the fibrosis condition in the palm. And we found that injecting anti TNF into that nodule prevents it from continuing. So we’ve enrolled 181 patients in a randomized placebo controlled trial. All of them got the injections that they were scheduled for. Unfortunately the readout was held up because of COVID. We couldn’t get the patients back in to do it, but that’s done now. This is the largest Dupuytren’s trial ever run in the world and we’ll have that data probably in early fourth quarter of this year.
DocWire News: What will be the clinical implications of these findings?
Dr. Jim Woody: Well, I mean, my wife had Dupuytren’s and did a year of steroid injections and then had to have surgery and now a year later, it’s partially back. So none of these are satisfactory if we can prevent this. It’s a huge benefit to the patients and prevents them from getting the disability altogether. So this is a relatively easy therapy. Tiny injections into this nodule and make it go away. So prevention is a, as you know, much better than treating the end stage disease.
DocWire News: What’s the overall goal of 180 Life Sciences?
Dr. Jim Woody: We have two or three other trials that are looking to prevent diseases. Frozen shoulder is another thing similar to Dupuytren’s. Your shoulder becomes fibrotic and frozen. We want to prevent that. And we have another trial in postoperative cognitive delirium after surgery that we think is caused by TNF and we want to try to prevent that too. We have a number of other programs coming along, mostly aimed at preventing things before they become severe.
DocWire News: Closing thoughts?
Dr. Jim Woody: Well it’s an exciting company and our colleagues have done all of this before. Dr. Feldmann, myself, and Dr. Steinman, and Rothbard, have all invented several drugs. So we really know what we’re doing and we’re back on track. It’s very exciting.