BERKELEY, Calif., Aug. 22, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- XOMA Corporation (Nasdaq:XOMA), a leader in the discovery and development of therapeutic antibodies, announced today that gevokizumab, the company's IL-1 beta modulating antibody, has been granted Orphan Drug Designation by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of non-infectious intermediate, posterior, or pan-uveitis, or chronic non-infectious anterior uveitis. The FDA Office of Orphan Products Development (OOPD) mission is to advance the evaluation and development of products (drugs, biologics, devices, or medical foods) that demonstrate promise for the diagnosis and/or treatment of rare diseases or conditions. In fulfilling that task, OOPD evaluates scientific and clinical data submissions from sponsors to identify and designate products as promising for rare disease and to further advance scientific development of such promising medical products. The office also works on rare disease issues with the medical and research communities, professional organizations, academia, governmental agencies, industry, and rare disease patient groups. About Gevokizumab Gevokizumab (XOMA 052) is a potent monoclonal antibody with unique allosteric modulating properties and the potential to treat patients with a wide variety of inflammatory diseases and other diseases. Gevokizumab binds strongly to interleukin-1 beta (IL-1 beta), a pro-inflammatory cytokine that has been shown to be involved in Behcet's and other forms of non-infectious uveitis, cardiovascular disease, and other auto-inflammatory diseases. In binding to IL-1 beta, gevokizumab inhibits the activation of the IL-1 receptor, thereby modulating the cellular signaling events that produce inflammation. Servier is XOMA's development and commercialization partner for gevokizumab. XOMA holds rights to gevokizumab in the U.S. and Japan for non-cardiometabolic indications, including non-infectious uveitis, acne, and erosive osteoarthritis of the hand for which clinical studies are ongoing. Information on all gevokizumab clinical studies can be found at www.clinicaltrials.gov . About Non-infectious Uveitis The term uveitis broadly refers to the inflammatory diseases that affect the portion of the eye known as the uvea, which is the middle of three layers that surround the eye. People with uveitis may experience decreased vision, pain, light sensitivity, and floaters. Uveitis may be caused by an infection that is commonly treated with an antimicrobial agent, or by an unknown pathogen triggering inflammation, called non-infectious uveitis.