SAN DIEGO, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- 08/09/2005 -- Immusol, Inc., a privately
held biopharmaceutical company engaged in the discovery and development of
novel therapies, announced today that they have entered into a license
agreement with the University of Kentucky Research Foundation (UKRF). Under
the terms of the agreement, Immusol obtains exclusive, worldwide rights to
UKRF's intellectual property that covers the use of antagonists against a
unique biological target identified to play an important role in the
development of choroidal neovascularization (CNV) or abnormal blood vessel
growth in the eye. CNV is part of the underlying pathological process of wet
age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a condition in which leakiness from
abnormal blood vessels damage the macula. The macula is the region of the
retina responsible for high acuity and fine detail vision in the central
Experiments in a rodent model of CNV have shown beneficial results for local
therapy with an antibody specific to the rodent form of this unique target.
Efforts are now underway to develop an inhibitor that will block this
pathway in humans. Recently, treatment options for patients with wet-AMD
have been vastly improved by the recent launch of therapeutics that target
VEGF and inhibit angiogenesis.
"We are excited to license this important new target for wet AMD," said Dr.
Nicholas F. Paoni, Immusol's Vice President of Therapeutics. "Preliminary
experiments in rodents at the University of Kentucky have been quite
encouraging and we are poised to next initiate development of antibodies for
the human form of this target. Once developed, an inhibitor for this target
could potentially be either mono-therapy for this condition, or
alternatively it could be adjunctive to the existing anti-VEGF therapies now
on the market or in development."
AMD is the most common cause of irreversible vision loss in individuals over
the age of 60 years. It is estimated that 20-25 million people worldwide are
affected by AMD, with 8 million exhibiting severe vision loss. Macular
degeneration affects as many as 12 million Americans. These numbers are
expected to increase significantly in 30-40 years as the population
continues to age.
Immusol is a privately held San Diego-based biopharmaceutical company
engaged in the discovery and development of novel therapies to treat human
diseases. Immusol uses an integrated approach, starting with a proprietary
discovery technology, to identify therapeutic molecules involved in the
areas of cancer, viral infection and ophthalmology. Based on these
discoveries, Immusol develops small molecule and protein-based therapies
alone or in collaboration with drug development partners. Immusol's lead
drug candidate, ChelASE, is being studied in clinical trials for the
treatment of keloids and hypertrophic scars. Other drug candidates are in
various stages of pre-clinical and clinical development.
Gerard A. Wills
Chief Financial Officer
SOURCE: Immusol, Inc