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.
The most common form of uveitis affects the front of the uvea and is known as anterior uveitis. Other forms include intermediate uveitis, posterior uveitis, and pan uveitis. These types differ in that they all include involvement of the back portions of the uvea. Posterior uveitis refers to inflammation in the retina and the choroid, and it may result from a different immune response trigger. Pan-uveitis refers to inflammation of all three major parts of the eye. Behcet's uveitis is a well-known form of pan-uveitis. Due to the swelling of tissues critical to vision, intermediate, posterior, and pan-uveitis (which collectively make up NIU) can lead to blindness if not treated.About XOMA Corporation XOMA combines a portfolio of innovative therapeutic antibodies, both in late-stage clinical development and in preclinical research, with its recently launched commercial operations. XOMA focuses its antibody research and development on allosteric modulation, which offers opportunities for new classes of therapeutic antibodies to treat a wide range of human diseases. XOMA is developing its lead product gevokizumab (IL-1 beta modulating antibody) with Les Laboratoires Servier (Servier) through a global Phase 3 program in non-infectious uveitis and ongoing proof-of-concept studies in other IL-1-mediated diseases. XOMA's scientific research also produced the XMet program, which consists of three classes of preclinical antibodies, including Selective Insulin Receptor Modulators (SIRMs) that could have a major effect on the treatment of diabetes. In order to retain significant value from its scientific discoveries, XOMA initiated commercial operations in January 2012 through the licensing of U.S. commercial rights to Servier's ACEON® (perindopril erbumine) and a patent-protected portfolio of product candidates. More detailed information can be found at www.xoma.com. The XOMA Corporation logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=5960
CONTACT: XOMA Corporation Company and Investor Contact: Ashleigh Barreto 510-204-7482 email@example.com Juliane Snowden The Oratorium Group, LLC firstname.lastname@example.org Media Contact: Canale Communications Carolyn Hawley 619-849-5375 email@example.com