Amakem Sponsors Ophthalmology Chair at KU Leuven

Apr 08, 2013, 06:56 ET from Amakem

DIEPENBEEK, Belgium, April 8, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

Amakem NV, a kinase platform company focusing on ophthalmology, today announces it has sponsored a new Chair of Ophthalmology Translational Research at the Catholic University Leuven (KU Leuven), Belgium.

The Chair has been established by the University and Amakem to drive further translational research into the prevention of diseases leading to impaired vision or blindness with a special emphasis on glaucoma. It will be held by Professor Ingeborg Stalmans, head of the glaucoma clinic of the Ophthalmology Department at the University Hospital in Leuven (UZLeuven). Professor Stalmans also runs an ophthalmology laboratory at KU Leuven and is a member of Amakem's Clinical Advisory Board.

Professor Stalmans said: "Amakem is a relatively young company to sponsor a Chair at a leading University and it is a measure of the maturity of their approach. As a member of the Amakem Clinical Advisory Board, I have had the opportunity to work closely with them as they have advanced AMA0076 into the clinic as a highly promising new treatment for glaucoma and ocular hypertension. I am grateful for the opportunity presented by the Chair to advance work into the science underlying glaucoma and other diseases and look forward to this work being translated into new medicines."

The KU Leuven Chair sponsorship is intended to further fundamental research and the Chair holder is appointed by the Rector of the University on the recommendation of the Dean of the relevant faculty. The Chair holder can use the gift to fund teaching or research. Amakem has initially committed to funding the Chair for three years.

Dr. Jack Elands, CEO of Amakem, said: "It is with great pride that we make this announcement. We have already established a very strong relationship with KU Leuven  and this sponsorship will serve to build on that and provide valuable funding to research aimed at improving treatment for patients with sight threatening conditions. We look forward to new insight being generated, particularly improved understanding of the causes and potential treatment of glaucoma."

In healthy eyes, aqueous humor flows through the eye and exits, primarily via the trabecular meshwork, to maintain the appropriate intraocular pressure. In glaucoma, increased pressure leads to damage of the optic nerve resulting in vision loss and ultimately blindness. It is expected that Prof. Stalmans will focus part of her work as Chair of Ophthalmology Translational Research on strategies to improve eye health by restoring the function of the trabecular meshwork.

Amakem's lead product, AMA0076, is a Rho Kinase (ROCK) inhibitor which is currently in a Phase 2a clinical trial in glaucoma and ocular hypertension. Its primary mode of action is through increasing flow of aqueous humor via the trabecular meshwork.

About Amakem

Amakem is an ophthalmology company developing new treatments for serious eye conditions. Amakem's product pipeline is based on its unique Localized Drug Action platform which is designed to generate safe and effective novel kinase inhibitors that minimize systemic exposure with the aim of reducing side effects. Amakem's lead candidate, AMA0076, is for glaucoma and entered Phase 2a development late last year. The Company is also working to apply the Localized Drug Action approach to a range of other eye diseases.

Founded in 2010, Amakem has raised more than €21m in funding and is backed by leading life sciences investors including Forbion, Omnes Capital (previously Crédit Agricole), Vesalius BioCapital, LRM, PMV/Vinnof and Life Science Research Partners.

Amakem is based in Belgium and located in the life sciences incubator "BioVille" at the University of Hasselt. The Company has a long-standing collaboration with the Ophthalmology Research Center of the University Leuven Hospital, where it sponsors a Chair in Ophthalmology Translational Research.

For more information, please contact

Amakem NV
Jack Elands, CEO

Citigate Dewe Rogerson
Chris Gardner/Nina Enegren