August 05, 2020
What is Snoretox?
Snoretox is a biotherapeutic that was invented and currently in development in the laboratories of RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia. The product, labelled Snoretox, is specifically designed to help deal with disorders stemming from hypotonia (low muscle tone), and is the first potentially effective and long lasting drug of its kind. Both sleep apnea and snoring might be treated with Snoretox within a few years. If proven to be effective and safe, we believe this medication to treat sleep apnea has the potential to revolutionize sleep apnea care as we know it.
How does it work?
The best way to think about Snoretox is that it works exactly like Botox, except with the opposite effect. Botox, short for botulinum toxin, decreases muscle tone by reducing neuronal impulse rates, while Snoretox (also called ToneTox) helps tighten muscles by increasing the impulse rates using a modified tetanus toxin. Botox works on the lower motor neuron, while Snoretox works on the upper motor neuron. Botox loosens, and Snoretox tightens.
What is tetanus toxin, and why is it modified?
Tetanus toxin simply increases local muscle tone for an extended period of time. This is what Snoretox capitalizes on. The problem is that people are vaccinated against tetanus, which results in the creation of antibodies. The Snoretox company has figured out how to successfully alter the tetanus toxin in order to by-pass these antibodies, opening up doors for potential therapeutic uses.
Currently, there are no approved drug solutions for low-tone muscle conditions. Until now, the fact that people were vaccinated against tetanus posed a serious problem: it rendered the tetanus toxin useless for medical use. The challenge was to develop a molecule that would be effective in the vaccinated population, and the people at Snoretox seem to have cracked the code.
The available data
There is evidence of successful treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea in a bulldog. 10 IU of tetanus toxin reduced the respiratory disturbance index (the number of apneas in an hour) in the bulldog by 50%, and the effects lasted around 4 months (which is a similar timeline to that of Botox).
Snoretox Pty Ltd also tested Snoretox and normal tetanus toxin (unmodified) in mice that have been vaccinated with the tetanus toxoid. The results found that Snoretox successfully avoided the antibodies, while the unmodified toxin did not, displaying the superiority and efficacy of the Snoretox molecule. Of course, effects in animal models don’t always translate into effective treatments for humans, but the researchers are confident in this case.
Key Medical Innovations:
- Snoretox is long lasting – it has a similar duration to botox (around 4 months)
- Only small doses are required
- Snoretox is reversible if needed—Botox is the natural antidote
- Snoretox by-passes tetanus toxin antibodies formed by the vaccine
Why is this new biotherapeutic technology important?
Sleep apnea affects around 1 billion people worldwide, and is a major cause of a number of disorders such as high blood pressure and is tightly associated with stroke, cardiac diseases, and depression to name but a few. As of now, the leading treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea is through a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. This device works by delivering a specified air pressure into and through a mask in order to keep the upper airway passages open, which in turn prevents snoring and treats Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). OSA causes hypotonia in the throat area, whilst CPAP uses air to keep the muscles functioning properly.
CPAP machines must be worn nightly, and although very effective, there is a high non-compliance rate. Snoretox will only require injections once every few months. Adding an alternative to the treatment of sleep apnea is an exciting and much needed option for patients.
When will this product be available?
The company’s goal is to pass a regulatory phase of animal studies in 2021 and move to human trials in the same year. Phase 2 trials should commence in 2023, and are on track to end in 2024.
Just as Botox was revolutionary for the treatment of chronic headaches, Snoretox may become a primary way to treat sleep apnea, a disorder that affects almost 20% of the population globally. At Ognomy, we are patient-focused, which is why our telemedicine sleep apnea application was developed with the utmost attention paid to the user experience. We recognize that the CPAP or oral appliances can be cumbersome for some patients, which is why we are putting Snoretox on the radar. Ognomy is about simplification, and Snoretox looks to have a promising future. Check back for updates as the product testing gets underway.