AKL Research and Development’s (AKLRD) early-stage osteoarthritis drug has won a prestigious award from Innovate UK, as a potential “game-changing” treatment.

The drug APPA has been awarded £675,000 by Innovate UK, despite it only being at the Phase I trial stage.

The funding will contribute to the development ofAPPA in its Phase II trial, which is expected to commence later this year, based on anticipated favourable results in the Phase I trial.

APPA is a combination of two synthetic secondary metabolites of plant origin, the natural versions of which have been used individually for centuries in traditional non-prescription medicines. Combining these two molecules in a unique ratio increases the potency and has resulted in a potential new, oral treatment for the disease.

The innovative treatment has demonstrated pain relief, improved functionality and slowed cartilage destruction in animal models of the condition, and it is hoped it will show similar results in human trials.

David Miles, chief executive officer of AKLRD, commented: “For APPA to be recognised as a disruptive innovation is incredibly exciting. The award from Innovate UK will allow us to secure the future development of what we believe could be an important medicine for OA patients who currently have limited treatment options.

“We believe APPA not only tackles pain but will also put the brakes on the inflammatory cascade that we know is responsible for the devastating consequences of osteoarthritis.”

Osteoarthritis is a common, debilitating, degenerative disease of the joints involving the cartilage and its surrounding tissues. It is the most common type of arthritis in the UK, affecting 8.75 million people, a number expected to more than double by 2030.