PALO ALTO, Calif., Nov. 10, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Eiger BioPharmaceuticals, Inc. today announced that it has acquired an exclusive license to technology for targeting effects of leukotriene B4 (LTB4) to modulate inflammation and immune response in the lung, providing a potential therapeutic approach for treating PAH. The technology was invented in the laboratory of Mark Nicolls, MD, Chief of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Stanford University.
"Stanford researchers demonstrated for the first time that a naturally-occurring inflammatory substance known as LTB4 is elevated in both animal models of PAH as well as human PAH disease and that elevated LTB4 causes inflammation resulting in arteriole occlusion and hypertension," said Joanne Quan, MD, Chief Medical Officer at Eiger. "Targeted pharmacologic inhibition of LTB4 reversed PAH disease in treated animals; obstructed arterioles opened, cardiac function improved, and the animals survived. Dr. Nicolls' group also identified elevated levels of LTB4 in human PAH disease."
"Approved agents for PAH today were developed as vasodilators. Inflammation is now recognized as a primary component of PAH disease, which can lead to obstructed arterioles, vasoconstriction, and worsening cardiac function," said David Cory, President and Chief Executive Officer at Eiger. "Dr. Nicolls' work represents a novel therapeutic approach to PAH which may address the inflammatory component of PAH and has real potential for disease modification. Eiger is committed to conducting a clinical study to explore if blocking the effects of LTB4 may be a useful new treatment for PAH. A US IND has been filed and approved. A Phase 2 clinical study is scheduled to begin enrolling early in 2016."
Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH) is a type of high blood pressure that affects the arteries in the lungs and the right side of the heart. PAH begins when tiny arteries in the lungs, called pulmonary arterioles, become narrowed, blocked or destroyed. This makes it harder for blood to flow through the lungs, and raises pressure within the lungs' arteries. As the pressure builds, the heart's lower right chamber (right ventricle) must work harder to pump blood through the lungs, eventually causing the heart muscle to weaken and eventually fail. PAH is a progressive, life-threatening illness and meets criteria for Orphan Designation in the US, EU, and Japan.
Eiger is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company committed to bringing to market novel products for the treatment of Orphan diseases. The company has built a diverse, late-stage portfolio of well-characterized product candidates with the potential to address diseases for which the unmet medical need is high, the biology for treatment is clear, and for which an effective therapy is urgently needed.
Investors: Jim Shaffer, Eiger Bio, Inc., 919-345-4256, firstname.lastname@example.org
SOURCE Eiger BioPharmaceuticals, Inc.