Interstitial lung disease (ILD) patients experience extensive pulmonary vascular remodeling, which ultimately leads to pulmonary hypertension-ILD (PH-ILD) in approximately 30% to 40% of patients1. We are initially targeting the use of bardoxolone methyl in PH-ILD patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, sarcoidosis, connective tissue disease (CTD) that has affected the lung tissue, and idiopathic interstitial pneumonia. PH-ILD patients have a one-year survival rate of approximately 63%, as compared to approximately 92% for ILD patients without PH4. Recent studies have demonstrated that mitochondrial abnormalities are key contributors to PH-ILD5.

Currently, there are no approved therapies for PH-ILD patients. While vasodilators approved for PAH are sometimes used off-label, given the degree of remodeling and fibrosis present in the lung tissue and vasculature of PH-ILD patients, they are minimally effective. Several current PAH therapies have been tested in PH-ILD patients and have resulted in little to no clinical improvement3.


ILD represents a heterogeneous group of diseases that are characterized by fibrotic remodeling of the pulmonary interstitium, which results in irreversible structural changes and ultimately death. A common feature of all ILDs is the decline of pulmonary function and impairment of gas exchange6,7.

Mitochondrial dysfunction and increased oxidative stress and reactive oxygen species (ROS) in ILD trigger hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstriction, which is one of the major causes of PH in ILD patients2. Additionally, vascular remodeling, perivascular fibrosis and vascular destruction, hypoxemia, and microvascular inflammation and injury also contribute to increased pulmonary vascular resistance and PH in ILD8.

PH contributes significantly to functional impairment in patients with ILD, and PH-ILD patients commonly complain of shortness of breath on exertion and, in severe cases, at rest. This limitation can severely compromise the quality of the patient’s life. PH also substantially worsens the prognosis of ILD patients and has been shown to be a predictor of mortality in patients with ILD9-12.

Mechanism of Action

Bardoxolone methyl directly targets the bioenergetic and inflammatory components of PH-ILD. PH-ILD patients experience mitochondrial dysfunction, increased activation of NF-κB and related inflammatory pathways involved in ROS signaling, cellular proliferation, and fibrosis. Bardoxolone methyl, through the combined effect of Nrf2 activation and NF-κB suppression, has the potential to inhibit inflammatory and proliferative signaling, suppress ROS production and signaling, reduce the production of enzymes related with fibrosis and tissue remodeling, and increase ATP production and cellular respiration13. Evidence potentially supporting the mitochondrial effects of the Nrf2 activators has been seen both pre-clinically and in clinical settings where more frequent weight loss was observed in the treatment groups14,15. By addressing a novel pathway, we believe that bardoxolone methyl may provide benefits, including:

  • Increased functional capacity: We believe the bioenergetic effects of bardoxolone methyl may result in increased functional capacity, the ability to perform everyday functions, for PH patients, due to its effects on energy production and cellular respiration, as characterized in preclinical studies with bardoxolone methyl and other Nrf2 activators16,17.
  • Potential effects beyond functional improvements: Bardoxolone methyl has potential anti-inflammatory, anti-proliferative, and anti-fibrotic effects and targets multiple cell types relevant to PH, including endothelial cells, smooth muscle cells, and macrophages17-20. We believe that bardoxolone methyl may, over an extended period of time, affect the synergistic processes of vasoconstriction, thrombosis, fibrosis, and vascular remodeling within the pulmonary arterial system, potentially improving patient outcomes17.
  • Development Program

    In the third quarter of 2017, Reata completed enrollment of patients in the LARIAT study, a placebo-controlled, multi-center Phase 2 study of bardoxolone methyl in PAH and four different etiologies of PH-ILD, which include:

    • Pulmonary Hypertension – ILD – Sarc (sarcoidosis)
    • Pulmonary Hypertension – ILD – IPF (idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis)
    • Pulmonary Hypertension – ILD – CTD (connective tissue disorder)
    • Pulmonary Hypertension – ILD – IIP (idiopathic interstitial pneumonia).

    Data are anticipated in the first quarter of 2018.


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