Press release

Dundee research paves the way for breakthrough bronchiectasis therapy

Published on 3 June 2024

The world’s first potential therapy for an increasingly common respiratory illness has been identified following a trial led by an expert from the University of Dundee and a global biopharmaceutical company.

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Millions of people living with bronchiectasis could potentially benefit from a breakthrough investigational therapy – brensocatib – following the announcement of new trial findings.

The biopharmaceutical company Insmed has released the topline findings of its Phase 3 “ASPEN” study, indicating that participants given brensocatib experienced significant reductions in pulmonary exacerbations. The medication targets a type of lung inflammation that has been a focus of research at the University’s School of Medicine for the past 15 years. 

The findings from this breakthrough research could lead to the first ever treatment for bronchiectasis, which is believed to affect approximately 400,000 patients in Europe and millions of people worldwide.

James Chalmers, Professor at Dundee’s School of Medicine and Chief Investigator of the ASPEN trial, said, “I am thrilled that the ASPEN study has demonstrated a statistically significant and clinically meaningful treatment effect for brensocatib, underscoring the impact this investigational therapy may have on patients with bronchiectasis.

"Today, there is no approved treatment for bronchiectasis and there remains an urgent need for a therapy that can reduce exacerbations. Brensocatib would be the first treatment in its class and could offer a completely new approach to managing this difficult-to-treat patient population, heralding a new era in clinical management of bronchiectasis.

“There are millions of bronchiectasis patients around the world, currently without an approved therapy.  It means so much to know that Dundee’s research into bronchiectasis and the role of inflammation have now contributed to a breakthrough with the potential to help so many people. This is a great day for patients.”

The University of Dundee is the world’s leading research centre into bronchiectasis, a chronic lung disease. While a small percentage of cases are genetic, little is known as to how and why people are impacted by the condition, which is often indicated by a persistent cough. Numbers of bronchiectasis have soared in the past decade, highlighting the urgent need for new treatments.

Exacerbations can occur in bronchiectasis patients over several days, with symptoms causing extreme discomfort and distress, including breathlessness.

With the findings now released to the public, Insmed plans to seek regulatory approval to make brensocatib available to the public, potentially as soon as mid-2025 in the U.S. and 2026 in Europe and Japan.

"We are incredibly excited about the topline results from the pivotal ASPEN study and what they may mean for patients,” said Martina Flammer, Chief Medical Officer of Insmed.

"We are grateful to the clinical investigators, site staff, patients, and families who made this study possible.”

You can read more about Professor Chalmers’ research here.


Jonathan Watson

Senior Press Officer

+44 (0)1382 381489