SAN DIEGO, Dec. 1, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Hillhurst Biopharmaceuticals, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing therapies to augment the cytoprotective heme oxygenase metabolic pathway, today announced the award of a Phase 1 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke (NINDS) of approximately $700,000 to fund further pre-clinical development of the Company's lead product candidate, HBI-002, for the treatment of acute cerebral injury. The heme oxygenase pathway, which is active in most cell classes, is thought to limit inflammatory processes and prevent apoptosis (cell death). The Company anticipates entering IND-enabling studies within the next 12 months. Hillhurst is collaborating on this project with Kyra Becker, M.D., University of Washington Professor of Neurology and Joint Professor of Neurological Surgery within the UW Medicine Department of Neurology.
"With this award, the NINDS recognizes the therapeutic potential of HBI-002 to address a significant unmet medical need in acute cerebral injury," said Andrew Gomperts, Hillhurst's Chief Executive Officer. "Hillhurst is grateful to the NINDS for recognizing the value of advancing the development of HBI-002. We believe our novel approach of targeting the heme oxygenase pathway with an oral therapeutic holds great promise, which we believe is validated by this award."
Acute cerebral injury comprises a number of serious conditions with profound and lasting consequences, including traumatic brain injury/concussion and ischemic stroke. These injuries are characterized by inflammation and resulting apoptosis. Acute cerebral injuries affect over 3.1 million people in the U.S. each year according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the costs associated with these conditions are estimated to be over $108 billion annually. At the present time, there is a dearth of FDA approved drugs for the treatment of acute cerebral injury.
Hillhurst's lead product, HBI-002, is a proprietary investigational drug product designed to augment the protective cellular heme oxygenase metabolic pathway to limit inflammatory processes, prevent apoptosis (cell death) and prevent oxidative injury. HBI-002 is an orally dosed therapeutic enabling acute and chronic use, in and outside of the hospital setting, for patients suffering from conditions associated with inflammation and apoptosis, such as acute cerebral injury, sickle cell disease, and multiple sclerosis, among others.
Hillhurst is a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing medicines designed to provide cytoprotective properties by augmenting the heme oxygenase pathway. Building on more than fifty years of research into the heme oxygenase enzyme and its metabolites as therapeutics, Hillhurst has developed HBI-002 to enable the oral delivery of the gasotransmitter carbon monoxide that Hillhurst employs to augment the heme oxygenase pathway to treat conditions associated with inflammation, apoptosis and oxidative injury.
To learn more about Hillhurst, please visit the company's website at www.hillhurstbio.com.
SOURCE Hillhurst Biopharmaceuticals, Inc.