The skin is a living, breathing organ that covers the entire outside of
the body serving as a shield from the environment. As the body’s most exposed
organ, this essential barrier is often under attack by infectious pathogens
from outside or from those resident on the skin itself. Infections and infectious
complications can occur when there is a break in the barrier such as during
surgery or as a result of direct injury such as burns and cuts.
Janus aims to increase the physician’s armamentarium for fighting infectious pathogens
by developing bacterial, fungal and viral fighting drugs in topical formulations
such as creams, lotions and gels for application to the skin.
JA-001 is a synthetic thymidine nucleoside analogue currently being developed
as a topical cream formulation for the treatment of shingles (herpes
zoster). Shingles is caused due to reactivation of the virus that causes
chickenpox, the varicella zoster virus (VZV). The risk of herpes zoster increases
with age and it is estimated that a person who reaches 85 years of age has
a 50% chance of having herpes zoster. An estimated 600,000 to 850,000 American
are afflicted with shingles each year.
JA-001 has potent inhibitory activity against VZV and has been shown to
be 2000 times more potent that acyclovir in comparative in vitro studies.
JA-001 is being developed to provide a topical alternative to the current
oral treatment for shingles. Janus intends to start clinical development
of this product in mid-2005.
JA-002 is a depsipeptide antibiotic that has antibacterial activity against
various strains of Staphylococcus aureus including those resistant to methicillin
(MRSA). This product is being developed for the prevention and treatment
of infections caused by S. aureus, one of the leading pathogens associated
with skin infections.
JA-002 is currently being developed for prevention of nasal colonization
by MRSA. An estimated 30% of adults are S. aureus carriers with numbers approaching
50% in those with an immunocompromised condition. S. aureus nasal carriers
have been correlated to increase the spread of MRSA thus increasing chances
of nosocomial infections. Janus is developing JA-002 as a preventive measure
for reducing carriage and hence infections caused by these organisms. This
product is currently in preclinical development stage.
Future development plans include use of JA-002 for the treatment of
the skin and soft tissue infections caused by S.aureus.
JA-003 is the same molecule in JA-002, but developed in a unique formulation
for the treatment of acne. JA-002 has been shown to be effective in vitro against
a wide variety of strains of Propionibacterium acnes including clinical isolates
and multi-drug resistant strains. Recent estimates suggest that 17 million
people in the US suffer from acne resulting in 5.5 million visits to the physician
each year. Early studies are being carried out to study the potential of developing
JA-002 as an anti-acne agent.