Amakem NV Recruits Leading Ophthalmology Experts to Clinical Advisory Board

Published: Mar 20, 2012

DIEPENBEEK, Belgium, March 20, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --

Amakem NV, a kinase platform company focusing on ophthalmology, today announced it has established a Clinical Advisory Board (CAB) with the appointment of four renowned international ophthalmology specialists: Dr. Keith Barton of Moorfields Eye Hospital London, Dr. Paul Kaufman of the University of Wisconsin, Dr. Kuldev Singh of Stanford University School of Medicine and Dr. Ingeborg Stalmans of University Hospital Leuven. The CAB will provide Amakem with guidance as the Company advances the development of its lead candidate AMA0076 for the treatment of glaucoma.

Mr. Keith Barton is a Consultant Ophthalmologist and former Glaucoma Service Director at Moorfields Eye Hospital London. His primary clinical interest is the diagnosis and management of glaucoma and his research covers the surgical management of refractory glaucomas, especially glaucoma related to uveitis and specifically anti-proliferative trabeculectomy and glaucoma drainage devices. Mr. Barton is also an investigator in a number of international trials in the management of glaucoma. Mr. Barton is a Fellow of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists, the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Surgeons. He received his Bsc in Medical Microbiology from University of Belfast and carried out his medical training at the Queen's University of Belfast.

Dr. Paul Kaufman is currently Professor and Chair of the Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences at The University of Wisconsin. Dr. Kaufman is a physician-scientist, whose work centers on glaucoma and studying the mechanisms of aqueous humor formation and drainage, and the age-related loss of near vision. Dr. Kaufman is a past President and past Executive Vice President for the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, and has served on several foundation and corporate advisory boards. He is the author of more than 350 original scientific articles and has co-edited the most recent editions of Adler's Physiology of the Eye. Dr. Kaufman has received several academic fellowships including Ocular Pharmacology Fellowship, Seeing Eye and National Institutes of Health Research Fellow, Departments of Pharmacology and Physiology, at University of Uppsala, in Uppsala, Sweden. Moreover, he is the Editor-in-Chief of Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science since 2008. Dr. Kaufman received his medical degree from New York School of Medicine, NY, USA.

Dr. Kuldev Singh is a Professor of Ophthalmology and Director, Glaucoma Service at the Stanford University School of Medicine. Dr. Singh's clinical practice focuses on the medical, laser and surgical management of glaucoma, glaucoma genetics and the epidemiology of eye disease. Dr. Singh is currently President-Elect of the American Glaucoma Society, and recently completed terms as Executive Vice President of the World Glaucoma Association and Chair, board of Directors of the Glaucoma Research Foundation, and continues to remain on the Board of these organizations. He is past Chair and current Methodologist for the glaucoma section of the Ophthalmic Technology Assessment Panel of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO). Dr. Singh received his MD and MPH degrees from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Dr. Ingeborg Stalmans is the head of the glaucoma unit of the Ophthalmology Department, at the University Hospitals Leuven (UZLeuven), Belgium, where she conducts clinical research in the glaucoma field. She also runs the ophthalmology laboratory of the Catholic University Leuven (KULeuven). Dr. Stalmans received the Pfizer Research Award for her clinical research in the glaucoma field as well as the GlaxoSmithKline prize for clinical sciences 2004, and frequently gives lectures both nationally and internationally. She is a board member of the Royal Academy of Medicine of Belgium and the Belgian Glaucoma Society. Dr. Stalmans holds an MD and PhD from University of Leuven, Belgium.

Jack Elands, CEO of Amakem, commenting on today's announcement said: "It is a great honor to welcome these four leading experts in ophthalmology to our Clinical Advisory Board. Their expertise as physicians and researchers will prove invaluable as we advance AMA0076 into the clinic as a highly promising candidate for glaucoma.

"Existing treatments for glaucoma are not effective for all patients and there is a real need for new approaches to the condition. AMA0076 has shown very promising preclinical results, lowering intraocular pressure and also potentially avoiding important side effects such as hyperemia which have hampered the development of other Rho Kinase (ROCK) inhibitors. I look forward to working with the CAB as we build on this promise through clinical trials."

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About Amakem

Amakem is an ophthalmology company developing new treatments for serious eye conditions. Amakem's product pipeline is based on its unique Localized Drug Action platform which is designed to generate safe and effective novel kinase inhibitors that minimize systemic exposure with the aim of reducing side effects. Amakem's lead candidate, AMA0076, is for glaucoma and the Company is working to apply the Localized Drug Action approach to a range of other eye diseases.

Founded in 2010, Amakem has raised more than 21m in funding and is backed by leading life sciences investors including Forbion, Crédit Agricole, Vesalius BioCapital, LRM, PMV/Vinnof and Life Science Research Partners.

Amakem is based in Belgium and located in the life sciences incubator "BioVille" at the University of Hasselt. The Company has a long-standing collaboration with the Ophthalmology Research Center of the University Leuven Hospital.

About Localized Drug Action

Amakem's 'Localized Drug Action' platform is designed to generate novel kinase inhibitor drugs which are contained locally and thus reduce or eliminate side effects. Kinases are crucial mediators of important disease pathways representing more than 22% of the drugable genome. However, kinases are present throughout the body and so there is a significant risk of toxicity due to on target effects in non-target organs and tissues if there is systemic exposure. This risk is acceptable in oncology indications, but not in others thus substantially reducing the potential of drugs targeting this class.

Amakem's kinase inhibitors are designed to be rapidly inactivated outside the target organ. In indications that can be treated by topical administration, it is therefore possible to contain the drug locally as it becomes inactive before it can reach other organs or tissues if it leaks out of the target organ.

Localized Drug Action is based on the inactivation of kinase inhibitors outside the target organ, e.g. in the bloodstream by specifically targeted enzymes. Each of Amakem's kinase inhibitors brings together kinase specificity and enzymatic conversion specificity. When the drug candidate leaves the target organ it is converted to a functionally inactive metabolite. This inactive metabolite is then eliminated from the body.

Amakem NV
Jack Elands, CEO

Citigate Dewe Rogerson
Chris Gardner/Nina Enegren


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