Omalizumab is in clinical development for the treatment of chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps (CRwNP). Chronic rhinosinusitis is a condition in which the lining of the sinuses becomes inflamed. It is characterised by symptoms including nasal congestion, discharge, decreased or loss of sense of smell, facial pain and headache. The condition is referred to as CRSwNP if nasal polyps are also present. Polyps are growths inside the nasal passages and sinuses, which usually only cause problems if they are large or grow in clusters, causing an obstruction. Additional symptoms of nasal polyps include a blocked nose, snoring and disturbed sleep. Corticosteroids are often prescribed for CRSwNP to reduce or eliminate the swelling. Surgery is recommended when the drug treatment fails.
Omalizumab is a monoclonal antibody that targets and blocks the immunoglobulin E (IgE). Human IgE is produced in large quantities in patients with allergies and triggers an allergic reaction in response to an allergen. By attaching to IgE, omalizumab ‘mops up’ the free IgE circulating in the blood. This means that when the body encounters an allergen, there is less IgE available to trigger an allergic reaction. This helps to reduce the symptoms of CRSwNP. If licensed, omalizumab will offer a treatment option as add-on therapy for patients with CRSwNP who have had an inadequate response to current standard-of-care treatments.
Mepolizumab is an antibody that binds to IL-5 to prevent it from interacting with its receptor on the surface of eosinophils. This binding prevents their maturation, differentiation, mobilisation, activation and survival; thereby controls their activity. Mepolziumab is administered subcutaneously. If licenced, mepolizumab will offer an additional treatment option –on top of standard care – for patients with CRSwNP, who frequently suffer from uncontrolled symptoms and disease recurrence.