Eliana Grazia Leo, Virginia Brighenti
PerFormS is an innovative start-up of the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia. Its core-business is represented by R&D activity for the development of novel products and services with a high technological content, in the ambit of health products. PerFormS current project focuses on the development of a new drug for the treatment of psoriasis, a chronic inflammatory skin disease, widely diffused worldwide. Chronic inflammatory pathologies, as psoriasis, yet lack a proper cure and the actual gold standard therapy rely on the anti-inflammatory drugs corticosteroids, which are yes effective, but they are also responsible for heavy side effects. This greatly affects their use over a prolonged time. PerFormS innovative topical product makes use of the endogenous molecule Palmitoylethanolamide (PEA), which is known for its anti-inflammatory and immunomodulating activity. However, PEA has not received yet a great interest by the pharmaceutical industry up to now, given its poor solubility that dramatically limits its use in any formulation. PerFormS was finally able to transform PEA into submicrometer particles through the use of nanotechnology, making it soluble and effective for the long term treatment of skin symptoms caused by psoriasis. Furthermore, the peculiar mechanism of action of PEA does not cause the typical side effects experienced with corticosteroids, an additional value of the PerFormS product. In July 2020, Italian patent application for the developed technology was filed and in 2021 it was extended to PCT. To date, proof-of-concept studies have been completed to evaluate the actual efficacy of the product on a validated animal model of psoriasis. Further required pre-clinical studies will follow, such as dose finding, ADME and toxicology, which are expected to be completed within 18 months. The goal of PerFormS is the development of drugs based on the new form of PEA, for the treatment of chronic and acute inflammation, such as intestinal, respiratory and dermatological diseases.
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