Q&A: Jazz Pharmaceuticals, Sumitomo Pharma to partner on oral treatment for narcolepsy
Jazz Pharmaceuticals announced it has entered into a licensing agreement with Sumitomo Pharma Co. to develop and commercialize an oral treatment for narcolepsy, idiopathic hypersomnia and other sleep disorders.
According to a Jazz press release, the treatment, originally dubbed DSP-0187 by Sumitomo, is a potent, highly selective oral orexin-2 receptor agonist. Sumitomo initiated a phase 1 study in 2021 in Japan, which evaluated the safety, tolerability and pharmacokinetics of DSP-0187 in healthy participants. Jazz plans to use these trial findings to advance development of the molecule, which it designated JZP441.
Healio spoke with Rob Iannone, MD, MSCE, Jazz Pharmaceuticals executive vice president and global head of research and development, to learn more about JZP441 and its potential benefits for patients.
Healio: How does JZP441 — formerly known as DSP-0187 — work and how will it benefit patients?
Iannone: Orexins are excitatory neuropeptides that play an important role in the regulation of sleep and wakefulness. Patients with type 1 narcolepsy have a loss of orexin-producing neurons with orexin deficiency and impaired orexin signaling, and clinically, these patients may present with disrupted nighttime sleep, hallucinations, sleep paralysis, excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) and cataplexy.
The EDS and cataplexy are chronic disabling symptoms that significantly impact patients’ ability to function normally during the day. In addition to type 1 narcolepsy, there are other sleep disorders that have decreased slow wave (restorative) sleep and EDS.
JZP441 is an investigational compound that is a potent, highly selective orexin-2 receptor agonist designed to activate and restore impaired orexin signaling. Through this mechanism of action, JZP441 has the potential to exert wake-promoting effects in people with sleep disorders associated with EDS. In addition to the wake-promoting effects, there is the potential to impact other symptoms of narcolepsy such as cataplexy. The potential effects will be explored in patients with narcolepsy in our clinical program.
Healio: How will the treatment be given?
Iannone: It will be administered as a daytime agent and may provide a new, complementary approach to oxybate therapy, which is administered at night.
Healio: How does JZP441 differ from other sleep disorder treatments?
Iannone: As a longtime leader in sleep medicine, Jazz has been providing therapies and support for patients living with serious, debilitating sleep disorders. Orexin agonism is an evolving and exciting area of sleep disorder research and is being studied as an approach that may be complementary to oxybate therapy.