Lpath, Inc. announced today that it was awarded a $3 million dollar grant by the National Eye Institute’s BRDG-SPAN Program. This is the maximum amount of the program which is designed to accelerate the transition from the development to commercialization of innovative technologies that improve human health, advance the mission of NIH, and create significant economic stimulus. The funds will be used to support Phase II clinical development of Lpath’s iSONEP™ for the treatment of exudative (or wet) age related macular degeneration (AMD) and possibly other ocular disorders.
AMD is a medical condition that usually affects older adults which results in a loss of vision in the center of the visual field (the macula) because of damage to the retina. It occurs in “dry” and “wet” forms. It is a major cause of visual impairment in older adults (>50 years). Macular degeneration can make it difficult or impossible to read or recognize faces, although enough peripheral vision remains to allow other activities of daily life.
Lpath is the recognized category leader in lipidomics-based therapeutics, an emerging field of medicine that targets bioactive signaling lipids for treating a wide range of human disease. Lpath’s ImmuneY2™ drug-discovery engine has the unique ability to generate therapeutic antibodies that bind to and inhibit bioactive lipids that contribute to diseases like wet AMD.
Unlike Lucentis® and off-label use of Avastin®, the 2 primary drugs used to treat wet AMD, iSONEP is designed to target the underlying cause of AMD. Lucentis and Avastin primarily target a single growth factor, VEGF, and typically only result in temporary improvements. The underlying choroidal neovascular (CNV) lesion does not regress much, if at all.
Dr. Roger Sabbadini, Lpath’s founder and chief scientific officer, commented, “Lpath is grateful to the NEI for its generosity and for recognizing the significant value of funding further clinical development of iSONEP. We believe this substantial financial commitment further validates Lpath’s novel approach of targeting bioactive lipids.”
Scott Pancoast, chief executive officer of Lpath, added, “Given how few of these grants are given, it is an honor to be a recipient. The award reflects the strength of our Phase I iSONEP data and the promise overall of our iSONEP program.”
Lpath was partnered with Merch KGaA (Darmstadt, Germany) on ASONEP ™, Lpath’s anti-cancer drug candidate. Recently, Lpath rejected Merck KGaA’s Proposal to extend the opt-in deadline citing terms in the agreement as not being in the best interest of Lpath or its stockholders. The termination became effective April 24, 2010. Lpath is actively seeking to re-partner its ASONEP program.
Lpath has successfully completed Phase I trials with ASONEP. Pre-clinical research showed strong efficacy signals in animal models involving renal cell carcinoma, prostate cancer, neuroblastoma, ovarian cancer, and lung cancer. Phase 1 trial demonstrated an excellent safety profile and produced evidence of pharmacological activity in cancer patients.
More information on Lpath, their compounds in development and the investment opportunity that the company presents can be found at www.lpath.com.