NEW YORK, March 3, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Ohr Pharmaceutical (Nasdaq:OHRP), a pharmaceutical company focused on the development of novel therapeutics for large unmet medical needs, and leading global cancer research center Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) today announced the establishment of DepYmed Inc., a new joint venture to develop trodusquemine and related analogs. The new joint venture will be a private entity, initially with equal ownership by Ohr and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. The two partners will seek funding and contribute to the research and development of trodusquemine and also newly patented analogs. The goal is to take the program into the clinic and to demonstrate proof of concept. Various options to fund later stage clinical trials will be explored. The continued preclinical research will be conducted under the guidance of Dr. Nicholas Tonks at CSHL. "Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory is a world class research center that has a track record of establishing successful commercial ventures in the biopharma space," said Irach Taraporewala, President and Chief Executive Officer of Ohr. "We are very pleased to be working with Dr. Nicholas Tonks who is one of the leading authorities on the protein tyrosine phosphatase (PTP) family of enzymes. Dr. Tonks discovered PTP1B, the primary target for trodusquemine. Setting up this joint venture is the optimal way to create shareholder value from this exciting asset and enable it to obtain the appropriate resources. At the same time, Ohr remains focused on the execution of our core strategy to develop novel ophthalmology products." "At CSHL we strive to bring the benefits of biological research to society," said Teri Willey, Vice President for Business Development and Technology Transfer at CSHL. "We hope that our involvement in this joint venture leads to new therapies that will benefit patients." The enzyme protein tyrosine phosphatase 1B (PTB1B) is a well-characterized target for a range of therapy areas. Despite its extensive validation, PTP1B has been a challenging target for therapeutic development due to the chemical properties of the enzyme at its active site. Novel approaches are required to exploit this important target fully. In one such approach, we have identified Trodusquemine as a selective, allosteric inhibitor of PTP1B that exerts its effects outside the active site of the enzyme. Trodusquemine has also been shown to cross the blood brain barrier, which enhances its potential applications, and has been well tolerated in dose escalation and dose ranging clinical studies completed to date in over 65 patients. Analogs of Trodusquemine have been identified that are potent inhibitors of PTP1B and have potential delivery route advantages.