LONDON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--OKYO Pharma Limited (LSE: OKYO), a biotechnology company developing targeted drugs for inflammatory dry eye diseases and chronic pain, is pleased to announce a collaborative agreement with Pedram Hamrah, MD, Ophthalmology Scientist and Cornea Specialist at Tufts Medical Center, and Professor of Ophthalmology at Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, to evaluate proprietary lead compounds, targeting G-protein coupled receptors (“GPCRs”), as non-opioid analgesics.
Based on our preclinical research, we have identified novel Bovine Adrenal Medulla (“Bam8”) analogs that have potential to ameliorate inflammation and neuropathic pain. The research collaboration with Dr. Hamrah is focused on evaluation of our lead compounds as non-opioid analgesics to suppress corneal neuropathic pain using a mouse ocular pain model recently developed in Dr. Hamrah’s laboratory at Tufts Medical Center, Boston. Dr. Hamrah is a prominent key opinion leader in Ocular Immunology, Inflammation and Ocular Pain. Recently, he was featured in The Wall Street Journal article on ‘When Routine Eye Surgery Leads to Debilitating Pain’ ( https://www.wsj.com/articles/when-routine-eye-surgery-leads-to-debilitating-pain-11562008367 ). These collaborative studies will provide additional ‘Proof-of-Concept’ results for the Bam8 analogs as potential non-opioid analgesics.
OKYO is focused on GPCR Technology Platform, a novel approach to develop innovative therapies for inflammatory dry eye diseases and chronic pain management. More than 40% of the drugs available in the global market target GPCRs. Large market potential and growth exists for GPCR targeted drugs for treating a wide variety of indications such as inflammation, oncology, cardiovascular diseases and inflammatory eye diseases including dry eye, uveitis and allergic conjunctivitis.
In addition to non-opioid analgesics program, OKYO is also pursuing development of Chemerin receptor agonist that targets inflammatory pathways to treat dry eye syndrome, uveitis and allergic conjunctivitis. Previously, OKYO presented preclinical studies demonstrating anti-inflammatory activity of OKYO-0101, a Chemerin receptor agonist, to suppress dry eye symptoms in a mouse model and ocular safety in rabbits in a ‘Late Breaking Poster Session’ at the 14th Congress on Ocular Pharmacology and Therapeutics in New Orleans (March 2019)1.
IND-enabling studies for both, Chemerin and Bam8 are ongoing at OKYO and we anticipate IND submission for Chemerin agonist for dry eye indication by Q4 2020 and Bam8 for ocular pain indication by Q2 2021.
“Neuropathic corneal pain is a severe, chronic and debilitating disease,” said Dr. Hamrah. “No commercially available treatments are currently available for this condition, so we are excited about this collaboration to test new compounds in our pre-clinical model of this disease.”
“Non-opioid strategies for chronic pain are central to solve the opioid public health crisis. We are thrilled to identify novel non-opioid GPCR agonists as lead candidates for IND-enabling studies, that have potential to ameliorate neuropathic pain” said Dr. Raj Patil, Senior Director R&D, OKYO Pharma Limited.
1. R. Patil, B. Harwood, A. Kopin, K. Shailubhai (2019) OKYO-0101, an agonist of G-protein coupled receptor (GPCR), ameliorates inflammation in an experimental model of dry eye disease in mice. 14th Congress on Ocular Pharmacology and Therapeutics, New Orleans, LA
OKYO Pharma Limited (LSE: OKYO) is a life sciences and biotechnology company admitted to listing on the standard segment of the Official List of the UK Financial Conduct Authority and to trading on the Main Market for listed securities of the London Stock Exchange plc. OKYO is focusing on the discovery and development of novel molecules to treat inflammatory dry eye diseases and chronic pain.
About Prof. Hamrah
Prof. Hamrah is a clinician/scientist and prominent KOL in the field of dry eye disease, ocular pain, and ocular immunology. He has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Senior Achievement Award from the American Academy of Ophthalmology, and is a Gold Fellow at the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology. Prof. Hamrah currently serves as the Associate Editor for the journals ‘The Ocular Surface’, ‘Translational Vision, Science & Technology’, and 'BMC Ophthalmology’ Section Editor for 'Eye’, Assistant Editor for the journal 'Ocular Immunology and Inflammation’ and is a member of several other editorial boards. He has authored over 100 peer-reviewed articles, over 40 reviews and book chapters, and has given more than 100 lectures and presentations worldwide.
About non-opioid analgesics
Opioid therapy is the most common therapy in the management of acute and chronic pain. However, opioid medications carry a risk of abuse and addiction by either the patient or health professional. Drug overdoses have become a leading cause of death in Americans under 50, with a majority of those deaths from opioids use. Therefore, consideration of non-opioid strategies for pain management is highly beneficial to patients. Despite their disadvantages, opioids are still the most prescribed drug for chronic pain management. The use of non-opioid analgesics may cut down the use of opioid.
About dry eye disease
Dry eye is a multifactorial disease caused by a chronic lack of sufficient lubrication and moisture on the surface of the eye and is reaching epidemic proportions. Symptoms of dry eye include constant discomfort and irritation accompanied by inflammation of ocular surface, visual impairment, and potential damage to ocular surface. Estimated prevalence of dry eye, which is frequently under-recognised, ranges from about 5% to 35% in different age groups, the most common being in adults over the age of 50. Thus, dry eye syndrome is seen as a major burden in public healthcare.