OPKO Health, Inc. (NYSE: OPK) and The Scripps Research Institute today announced a global agreement for the development and commercialization of SR 3306, a novel compound discovered by scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute that blocks the destruction of brains cells in animal models of Parkinson’s disease. Under the terms of the agreement, The Scripps Research Institute has granted to OPKO Health exclusive worldwide rights to develop, manufacture and commercialize SR 3306 and related compounds that inhibit a class of enzymes called jun-N-terminal kinsases (JNK) that play an important role in neuron survival. The new compound, a small molecule known as SR-3306, would potentially be the first to protect the brain from the ravages of Parkinson's disease.
“This licensing agreement will help insure that the development of this promising compound keeps moving forward,” said Scripps Research Professor Philip LoGrasso, whose laboratory has led the research on the compound to date. “This is one of the best opportunities we have for the development of an effective neuroprotective treatment for Parkinson’s patients.”
“We are excited to be working with Dr. LoGrasso and The Scripps Research Institute to develop this important compound which could prevent the progression of Parkinson’s disease and not just treat the symptoms of the disease,” said Phillip Frost, M.D., Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of OPKO. Parkinson's disease, a degenerative neurological disorder that reduces the brain's ability to produce dopamine, affects about one million Americans. Currently prescribed drugs for Parkinson’s disease — including levodopa and so-called MAO-B inhibitors — can counteract symptoms of the disease but not stop its progression.
SR-3306 was described in a pair of studies led by Dr. LoGrasso and published in February 2011 in the journal ACS Chemical Neuroscience.About The Scripps Research Institute The Scripps Research Institute is one of the world's largest independent, not-for-profit organizations focusing on research in the biomedical sciences. Over the past decades, Scripps Research has developed a lengthy track record of major contributions to science and health, including laying the foundation for new treatments for cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, hemophilia, and other diseases. The institute employs about 3,000 people on its campuses in La Jolla, CA, and Jupiter, FL, where it’s renowned scientists — including three Nobel laureates — work toward their next discoveries. The institute's graduate program, which awards Ph.D. degrees in biology and chemistry, ranks among the top ten of its kind in the nation. For more information, see www.scripps.edu. About OPKO Health, Inc. OPKO is a multi-national biopharmaceutical and diagnostics company that seeks to establish industry-leading positions in large and rapidly growing medical markets by leveraging its discovery, development and commercialization expertise and novel and proprietary technologies.