PDC31 (injectable) for preterm labour

PDC41 (topical) for primary dysmenorrhea

Peptidometics (oral) for primary dysmenorrhea

Scientific publications

In the United States, the rate of preterm birth has been steadily increasing, reaching 12.5% in 2004, representing approximately 500,000 preterm births per year (National Center for Health Statistics. Released November 15, 2005). In most other countries where statistics are kept, the rate is closer to 10%. Preterm birth rates have not decreased over the past 40 years and no effective treatments are available in North America.

Preterm delivery places an enormous strain on the healthcare system. In the United States in 2003, hospital charges for babies with a diagnosis of prematurity/low birth weight was $18.1 billion. The average health-care cost for premature babies in their first year of life is $41,610, compared to $2,830 spent on the average healthy, full-term baby (March of Dimes).

Current treatment options call for no treatment of preterm labour (since only 30-40% will actually deliver preterm), administration of corticosteroids (to improve fetal lung maturation) and use of tocolytics (to stop contractions). There are currently no approved treatments available in North America and primarily only one approved product in Europe, atosiban (Tractocile™). A number of compounds in development for preterm labour have been recently discontinued, so there is an urgent need for new therapies for this unmet medical need.

PDC31 is a potent antagonist of the receptor for prostaglandin F2 (FP). The strategy of selectively blocking PGF2alpha is attractive because the molecule has few maternal physiologic effects outside the uterus and equally few fetal physiologic effects. Moreover, because signalling through the FP receptor is a downstream event, blocking at this point has the potential to provide enhanced efficacy and safety, unlike other inhibitors of prostaglandin synthesis (such as indomethacin) which affect both maternal and fetal prostaglandin synthesis.

Because of the central role of prostaglandins in the onset of labour, PDC31 is expected to be at least as effective in prolonging pregnancy in women with threatened PTL as current therapies, including oxytocin receptor antagonists. Moreover, FP antagonists are likely to be more effective in infection-associated preterm labour, which occurs in 30-40% of all preterm births. In these patients, bacterial infection triggers a cascade of events leading to the production of prostaglandins that cause uterine contractions.