Omeros Awarded NIMH Grant for Development of Orphan GPCR Antibodies
SEATTLE, Sept. 19, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Omeros Corporation (NASDAQ: OMER) today announced that the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) awarded a grant to the Company for its proprietary antibody discovery (DTLacO) platform. With this approximately $700,000 NIMH award, Omeros will use its DTLacO platform to develop antibodies targeting orphan G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) that are associated with neurological disorders.
Omeros’ proprietary DTLacO technology is an efficient ex vivo antibody discovery platform that pairs an engineered chicken B-cell line with innovative antibody selection strategies. The DTLacO library comprises a highly diverse antibody repertoire from which antibodies specific for therapeutic or diagnostic targets are selected. The power of the library is magnified by the capacity of the DTLacO cells to mediate accelerated molecular diversification of the antibody genes, a feature that enables rapid maturation of selected antibodies to improve affinity, specificity and function. The DTLacO platform has already yielded high-affinity, humanized antibodies with therapeutic potential.
“We are pleased that the NIMH has again awarded a grant to support our orphan GPCR research,” said Gregory A. Demopulos, M.D., chairman and chief executive officer of Omeros. “Omeros’ DTLacO platform can generate antibodies that target a wide range of diseases, including multiple types of cancer. With respect to our orphan GPCR program, the DTLacO platform nicely complements our proprietary cellular redistribution assay that, to date, has identified small molecules that functionally interact with 42 orphan GPCRs. For those few receptors that are recalcitrant to our high-throughput CRA approach, our DTLacO platform provides another avenue to discover and develop new drugs to benefit patients.”
About the DTLacO Platform
Omeros’ proprietary DTLacO technology is an efficient ex vivo antibody discovery platform that pairs an engineered chicken B-cell line with innovative antibody selection strategies. The DTLacO library comprises a highly diverse antibody repertoire from which antibodies specific for therapeutic or diagnostic targets are selected. The power of the library is magnified by the capacity of the DTLacO cells to mediate accelerated molecular diversification of the antibody genes. This diversification results from the intrinsic ability of the DTLacO cells to reconfigure the elements of the antibody that control binding, a feature that enables rapid maturation of selected antibodies to improve affinity, specificity and function. The platform can generate antibodies with inherently long CDR-H3 regions, making the antibodies well-suited for targeting difficult-to-bind epitopes, such as GPCRs. The DTLacO platform has already yielded high-affinity, humanized antibodies with therapeutic potential.
About G Protein-Coupled Receptors
GPCRs, which mediate key physiological processes in the body, are one of the most valuable families of drug targets. According to Insight Pharma Reports, GPCR-targeting drugs represent 30 to 40 percent of marketed pharmaceuticals. Examples include Claritin® (allergy), Zantac® (ulcers and reflux), OxyContin® (pain), Lopressor® (high blood pressure), Imitrex® (migraine headache), Reglan® (nausea) and Abilify® (schizophrenia, bipolar disease and depression) as well as all other antihistamines, opioids, alpha and beta blockers, serotonergics and dopaminergics.
The industry focuses its GPCR drug discovery efforts mostly on non-sensory GPCRs. Of the 363 total non-sensory GPCRs, approximately 240 have known ligands (molecules that bind the receptors) with nearly half of those targeted either by marketed drugs (46 GPCRs) or by drugs in development (about 70 GPCRs). There are approximately 120 GPCRs with no known ligands, which are termed “orphan GPCRs.” Without a known ligand, drug development for a given receptor is extremely difficult.
Omeros uses its proprietary high-throughput CRA to identify small-molecule agonists and antagonists for orphan GPCRs, unlocking them to drug development. Omeros believes that it is the first to possess the capability to unlock orphan GPCRs in high-throughput, and that currently there is no other comparable technology. Unlocking these receptors could lead to the development of drugs that act at these new targets. There is a broad range of indications linked to orphan GPCRs including cardiovascular disease, asthma, diabetes, pain, obesity, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, schizophrenia, learning and cognitive disorders, autism, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis and several forms of cancer.
About Omeros Corporation
Omeros is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company committed to discovering, developing and commercializing products targeting inflammation, coagulopathies and disorders of the central nervous system. The Company’s most clinically advanced product candidates are derived from its proprietary PharmacoSurgery(TM) platform designed to improve clinical outcomes of patients undergoing a wide range of surgical and medical procedures. Omeros has four clinical-stage development programs. Omeros may also have the near-term capability, through its GPCR program, to add a large number of new drug targets and their corresponding compounds to the market. Behind its clinical candidates and GPCR platform, Omeros is building a diverse pipeline of protein and small-molecule preclinical programs targeting inflammation, coagulopathies and central nervous system disorders.
This press release contains forward-looking statements as defined within the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, which are subject to the “safe harbor” created by those sections. These statements include, but are not limited to, Omeros’ expectations regarding the antibodies that may be generated by the DTLacO platform; and that Omeros may have capability, through its GPCR program, to add a large number of new drug targets and their corresponding compounds to the market. Forward-looking statements are based on management’s beliefs and assumptions and on information available to management only as of the date of this press release. Omeros’ actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements for many reasons, including, without limitation, the risks, uncertainties and other factors described under the heading “Risk Factors” in the Company’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on August 7, 2012. Given these risks, uncertainties and other factors, you should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, and the Company assumes no obligation to update these forward-looking statements publicly, even if new information becomes available in the future.
SOURCE Omeros Corporation