SAN DIEGO, May 30, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Lpath, Inc. (Nasdaq:LPTN), the industry leader in bioactive lipid-targeted therapeutics, received official notification from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) that the Company has been issued a key patent supporting its iSONEP program. The newly issued U.S. patent, No. 8,444,970, is entitled, "Compositions and Methods for the Treatment and Prevention of Ocular Conditions." It claims methods of using monoclonal antibodies (including iSONEP™) that bind sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) in the treatment of a wide variety of ocular conditions, including wet AMD (Age-related Macular Degeneration). "This patent provides exclusivity for iSONEP and other antibodies to S1P in the U.S. for ocular disorders and complements our recent exclusivity for anti-S1P antibodies in Europe for wet AMD, cancer, and other conditions," said Roger Sabbadini, Lpath's vice president, founder, and an inventor of the granted patent. Lpath is conducting a Phase 2 clinical trial for iSONEP, called Nexus, which is evaluating the anti-S1P antibody's safety and efficacy in wet-AMD patients. Lpath entered into an agreement with Pfizer in 2010 that provides Pfizer an exclusive option for a worldwide license to develop and commercialize iSONEP. Additionally, Lpath is independently conducting an ASONEP™ Phase 2 trial in renal cell carcinoma patients. iSONEP and ASONEP are different formulations of sonepcizumab, a first-in-class therapeutic antibody against S1P developed using Lpath's ImmuneY2™ drug-discovery engine. Antibodies developed via this discovery engine are designed to target bioactive signaling lipids, such as S1P, that are involved in cancer, AMD, inflammatory and auto-immune disorders, and many other diseases. About Lpath's Patent Portfolio Over the course of the Company's development, Lpath has achieved a broad and deep intellectual property position in the bioactive-lipid area. The Company's comprehensive patent portfolio now includes over 25 issued patents and over 25 patent applications in the U.S., with corresponding international patents and applications. These patents primarily relate to the use of reagents and methods designed to interfere with the actions of bioactive lipids involved in human disease. Lpath's intellectual property portfolio includes coverage of compositions of matter that specifically bind to sphingolipids and sphingolipid metabolites. These compositions, including antibodies, could be used in the diagnosis and treatment of various diseases and disorders, including cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease, cancer, inflammation, autoimmune disorders, ocular disease, and angiogenesis. Lpath has also obtained issued patent claims on sphingolipid targets (e.g., receptors and signaling sphingolipids) and methods for using such targets in drug-discovery screening efforts.