Ocean Biomedical (NASDAQ: OCEA) Will Target Pulmonary Fibrosis Discoveries as Novel Treatments of Hermansky-Pudlak Syndrome
On Hermansky-Pudlak Syndrome (HPS) Awareness Day, Ocean Biomedical announces
a commitment to developing viable treatment options for HPS-1 and HPS-4
Providence, RI, April 06, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Ocean Biomedical, Inc. (NASDAQ: OCEA) announced today a strong commitment to targeting its pulmonary fibrosis treatment candidate, “OCF-203,” as a novel therapeutic for fatal pulmonary fibrotic conditions caused by Hermansky-Pudlak Syndrome (HPS). Discoveries in recent years by Ocean Biomedical’s Scientific Co-founder, Dr. Jack A. Elias, and his colleagues at Brown University, have revealed a new target and a new pathway for treating pulmonary tissue damage in Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF). Experiments have also been performed with genetically modified “pale-ear” mice, which have the same mutations that are seen in patients with Hermansky-Pudlak Syndrome (HPS). These experiments demonstrated that the same small molecule may be effective in treating pulmonary fibrosis conditions in patients with HPS, especially the most deadly forms of that disease, HPS-1 and HPS-4.
Ocean Biomedical’s novel approach to treating pulmonary fibrosis – a condition with no disease modifying agents currently available – is focused on inhibiting Chitinase 1 (Chit1) with patented “OCF-203.” Chit1 is also a critical biomarker in Scleroderma-associated interstitial lung disease (SSc-ILD) and plays a role in bleomycin- and IL-13-induced pulmonary fibrosis. In four pulmonary fibrosis animal models, Ocean Biomedical’s OCF-203 has shown an 85% – 90% reduction in collagen accumulation. The results of this antifibrotic (termed molecule X: SMX) in the bleomycin model can be seen in the diagram above. Results also showed efficacy in the pale-ear mouse model of HPS, including impressive reductions in fibrosis. As a result, efforts are now moving towards IND-enabling studies.
Ocean Biomedical’s anti-fibrosis platform seeks to address major unmet needs for IPF and HPS, and has shown potential for expanded application into fibrotic diseases in other organs, such as scleroderma, alcoholic liver disease, NASH, and kidney failure (see below). This unique approach has been developed by a research team led by Dr. Jack A. Elias, who is the former Dean of Medicine and Biology at Brown University, and former Chair of Medicine and Chief of Pulmonology and Critical Care Medicine at Yale University and Yale-New Haven Hospital.
IPF is a devastating lung condition that currently affects about 100,000 people per year in the United States, and about 15 per 100,000 people worldwide, with a much higher prevalence in males over 50 years old. The median survival rate ranges from 2 – 5 years. Current standard-of-care therapeutics have limited efficacy and significant side effects such that patients choose to forgo drug therapy. There are no therapies currently available that can reverse loss of lung function.
Hermansky-Pudlak Syndrome (HPS) is a rare genetic condition that affects about 1 in 750,000 people worldwide, and about 1 in 1800 people in northwest Puerto Rico. In HPS-1 and HPS-4 patients pulmonary fibrosis occurs early in life (30s and 40s) and symptoms are often severe. Patients who have the HPS-1 or HPS-4 variants of the disease often develop terminal lung fibrosis with no therapeutic treatment currently approved.
IPF and HPS are both considered “rare diseases” under the Orphan Drug Act, which qualifies them for potential orphan drug designation, and Ocean is moving towards IND filings for OCF-203 with both patient populations in mind.
“My life’s work has been focused on caring for patients with pulmonary conditions and it is difficult to see the limited treatment options that are available for many of these diseases. We are working to change that, and we’re really excited about the broad therapeutic potential for this unique treatment pathway,” commented Dr. Elias.
“This company was founded by physician-researchers to find solutions for large, unmet medical needs and we are pleased with the possibility of extending the anti-fibrosis platform into a broad range of hard-to-treat conditions,” said Dr. Chirinjeev Kathuria, Ocean’s co-founder and Executive Chairman.
Suren Ajjarapu, a director of Ocean, commented, “This company is pushing to translate discovery research into the clinic for a range of conditions that will provide global health solutions, and pulmonary fibrosis has potential to have positive returns for patients and our shareholders.”
“We are pleased to see the strong results being generated in our anti-fibrosis platform, and we are proud to be moving them forward, especially for patients with conditions like HPS that do not currently have effective treatment options,” said Elizabeth Ng, CEO of Ocean Biomedical.
About Ocean Biomedical
Ocean Biomedical, Inc. (“Ocean Biomedical” or the “Company”) is a Providence, Rhode Island-based biopharma company with an innovative business model that accelerates the development and commercialization of scientifically compelling assets from research universities and medical centers. Ocean Biomedical deploys the funding and expertise to move new therapeutic candidates efficiently from the laboratory to the clinic, to the world. Ocean Biomedical is currently developing five promising discoveries that have the potential to achieve life-changing outcomes in lung cancer, brain cancer, pulmonary fibrosis, and the prevention and treatment of malaria. The Ocean Biomedical team is working on solving some of the world’s toughest problems, for the people who need it most.
To learn more, visit www.oceanbiomedical.com.
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Any discoveries announced by the Company are based solely on laboratory and animal studies. Ocean Biomedical has not conducted any studies that show similar efficacy or safety in humans. There can be no assurances that any treatment tested by the Company will prove safe or effective in humans, and any clinical benefit of any such treatment is subject to clinical trials and ultimate approval of its use in patients by the FDA. Such approval, if granted, could be years away.
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