OKYO announces filing of a patent application covering the use of Chemerin and associated analogues to treat “cytokine storm” associated with COVID-19 and ARDS
London and Boston, MA, January 19, 2021 – OKYO (LSE: OKYO; OTCQB: EMMLF), the life sciences and biotechnology company focused on the discovery and development of novel molecules to treat inflammatory dry eye diseases and chronic pain, announces that it has today submitted a patent application for the potential use of chemerin and chemerin analogues for prophylaxis against and treatment of symptoms associated with, or resulting from, infection with SARS-CoV-2 virus, including inflammation due to the cytokine storm caused by COVID-19 disease (“COVID-19”), and acute respiratory distress syndrome (“ARDS”).
OKYO has been developing the chemerin molecule as a promising anti-inflammatory treatment for dry-eye disease (“DED”) licensed from researchers at On Target Therapeutics LLC. OKYO has previously announced that it anticipates making an investigational new drug submission with the US Food and Drug Administration for the use of chemerin in the treatment of DED.
“Together with On Target Therapeutics LLC, we have been exploring chemerin and associated analogues for other potential therapeutic uses and are now also focusing on chemerin as a novel approach to treating COVID-19 and ARDS patients,” said Dr. Gary S. Jacob, CEO of OKYO. “We are working aggressively to expand this COVID-19 work and will be providing progress on this project as important developments occur.”
Dr. Napoleone Ferrara, a member of OKYO’s Scientific Advisory Board, will be spearheading this effort at OKYO to advance chemerin and its associated analogues for the treatment of patients with SARS-CoV-2 virus and ARDS. Dr. Ferrara, winner of the prestigious Lasker award and a member of the National Academy of Sciences USA, was the scientist who isolated vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), a discovery that led to the two blockbuster drugs Lucentis® and Avastin® (which together accounted for over US$9 billion in sales in 2019) as well as to the class of anti-VEGF drugs, which are widely used to treat cancer and intraocular neovascular diseases.
Dr. Ferrara commented: “We are very excited to be working with our collaborating industry and academic partners to develop this promising addition to the COVID-19 therapeutic armamentarium and, of course, to expedite evaluation in patients as soon as possible. Beyond COVID-19, chemerin, which is a well-established modulator of inflammation, has promise for treating ARDS, a pathological condition that may be triggered by a host of insults to the lungs (e.g., pneumonia, sepsis, pancreatitis and inhalation injury).”
About Chemerin and its receptor: The chemerin receptor (“CMKLR1”, also known as ChemR23) is a chemokine like G protein-coupled receptor (“GPCR”) expressed on select populations of cells, including inflammatory mediators (including macrophages, monocytes, plasmacytoid/myeloid dendritic cells and natural killer cells), as well as epithelial cells. Activation of CMKLR1 by its endogenous peptide ligand chemerin is known to modulate inflammation, but natural ligands for CMKLR1 have short half-lives due to rapid inactivation. Discovery of a stable, high potency CMKLR1 agonist (stable lipidated chemerin) by On Target Therapeutics LLC provided an important step toward the development of a new class of anti-inflammatory therapeutics.
The person who arranged for the release of this announcement on behalf of the Company was Dr. Gary S. Jacob, Chief Executive Officer of OKYO.
Notes for Editors:
OKYO Pharma Limited (LSE: OKYO; OTCQB: EMMLF) is a life sciences and biotechnology company admitted to listing on the standard segment of the Official List of the UK Financial Conduct Authority and to trading on the main market for listed securities of London Stock Exchange plc. OKYO is focusing on the discovery and development of novel molecules to treat inflammatory dry eye diseases and chronic pain.
About Dr. Napoleone Ferrara
Dr. Ferrara is a member of The National Academy of Sciences and has received numerous prestigious awards, including the Lasker Award and the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences. His research on understanding the role of angiogenesis and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in cancer development, led to the discovery that VEGF is a key mediator of angiogenesis associated with intraocular neovascular syndromes. This pioneering research led to the clinical development of a humanized anti-VEGF Fab (Ranibizumab, Lucentis®), which has also been approved as a therapy for neovascular age-related macular degeneration (AMD), retinal vein occlusion and diabetic macular edema. Ranibizumab and other anti-VEGF agents have had a dramatic impact on the development of therapies for these blinding disorders. When Lucentis® (Ranibizumab) received FDA approval in late June 2006, the new macular degeneration drug was celebrated as a major medical breakthrough. Dr. Ferrara’s research also led to the development and approval of humanized anti-VEGF mAbs (Bevacizumab; Avastin®) for cancer treatment, with Avastin® being one of the bestselling cancer drugs over the last two decades. Lucentis® and Avastin® collectively achieved over $9 billion in sales in 2019.
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