DIEPENBEEK, Belgium, January 3, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --
Amakem NV, a kinase platform company focusing on ophthalmology, today announces it has secured a €1.4M grant from the Flemish Agency for Innovation by Science and Technology (IWT), to apply its Localized Drug Action technology to the discovery and development of novel kinase inhibitor-based therapies for Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD).
IBD is a chronic, relapsing inflammatory disease of the gastrointestinal tract associated with considerable morbidity and significantly affecting patients' quality of life. It primarily includes ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. Despite the impact of the disease, currently no disease modifying drugs are available for IBD patients. There remains a clear need for new treatments, in particular safe and efficient therapeutics that aim to control the disease and increase the remission period.
Amakem has identified locally active lead molecules acting on a number of kinases which play a role in the pathology of IBD. The IWT grant will be directed to the further development of safe therapeutics that offer the potential to impact a range of factors of the disease including impaired barrier function, inflammation, fibrosis and angiogenesis but without causing systemic side effects. The goal is for Amakem to develop candidates with in vivo proof of concept in appropriate models of IBD as well as to obtain clear indications for the disease modifying properties of these molecules.Dr. Jack Elands, CEO of Amakem, said: "This grant from the IWT again recognizes the wide potential of our Localized Drug Action technology to generate highly novel and potentially valuable new drugs across a range of indications. Our core focus remains ophthalmology, with our lead product, AMA0076, progressing through its Phase 2a clinical trial in glaucoma and ocular hypertension. However, this non-dilutive funding provides the resources to generate further value from our platform which, outside ophthalmology, has also delivered proof of concept in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and asthma." Dr. Dirk Leysen, CSO and Founder of Amakem and one of the inventors of the company's core technology, added: "When we first founded Amakem we believed the Localized Drug Action platform provided an opportunity to harness the therapeutic power of kinase inhibition while minimizing the impact on non-target tissues and organs. With kinases being implicated in a broad range of diseases, but also present throughout the body, localized activity is potentially hugely important. It is very gratifying to see another program underway as well as the tremendous progress we have already demonstrated in our core ophthalmology indication." About Amakem