In 1998, the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to Robert F. Furchgott, Dr. Louis J. Ignarro and Ferid Murad for their research identifying nitric oxide as a signaling molecule in the cardiovascular system. Since then, studies have demonstrated the benefit of nitric oxide in several indications, including cancer and inflammatory conditions. Novan is investigating the potential application of nitric oxide in the treatment of human papillomavirus (HPV) and HPV-related conditions, with an eye toward improved women’s health. A new federal grant will help expand preclinical development of treatments for cervical intraepithelial neoplasiab (CIN), a precancerous condition associated with HPV.
Research conducted under this grant is central to Novan’s women’s health business unit, launched in October 2018. Health Decisions will continue to support Novan with these initiatives and will be involved in first-in-human clinical studies, if candidates advance into the clinic.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data suggests that 79 million Americans are infected with HPV – the most common sexually transmitted infection in the U.S. Estimates suggest that up to one million women are diagnosed with CIN annually. In addition, approximately 19,000 women are affected by cancers caused by the virus each year. A 2015 analysis found that HPV DNA could be detected in the majority of cervical, vaginal, and vulvar cancers and, while vaccines may reduce the incidence of HPV-associated cancers, they will not prevent all cases.
“We hope that one day HPV and related conditions will be fully preventable, but we know there is more to be done before we reach this goal,” said Patrick Phillips, BSc(Hons) D.Phil., Chief Executive Officer, Health Decisions. “We’re encouraged by the work that Novan is doing and excited to support the early development of investigational treatment options that may improve women’s health care.”