SEATTLE, April 19, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Omeros Corporation (NASDAQ: OMER) today announced that research on mannan-binding lectin-associated serine protease-2 (MASP-2) has been published in the April 18, 2011 Early Online Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Wilhelm Schwaeble, Ph.D., Professor of Immunology at the University of Leicester and the senior author of the paper, led an international team of researchers who demonstrated that blocking MASP-2 function significantly reduces tissue damage caused by ischemia-reperfusion injury.
Ischemia is the interruption of blood flow to tissue, which can be caused by myocardial infarctions (heart attacks), strokes and other medical disorders as well as a wide range of surgical procedures. When blood flow is restored to ischemic tissue (reperfusion), the process can trigger an excessive inflammatory response leading to tissue destruction and impaired organ function. MASP-2, which was first identified by researchers at the University of Leicester, is a pro-inflammatory protein target in the complement system. The complement system, an important component of the immune system, initiates an inflammatory response as a result of tissue damage or microbial pathogen invasion.
Professor Schwaeble and his colleagues demonstrated in animal models of cardiac and gastrointestinal ischemia-reperfusion injury that inhibition of MASP-2 function blocked the excessive inflammatory response, resulting in significantly less tissue damage.
MASP-2 is a key component of the innate immune response and its inhibition could potentially provide a novel approach to treating other inflammatory disorders, including neuropathy and other complications of diabetes, age-related macular degeneration and autoimmune disorders. Omeros holds worldwide exclusive intellectual-property rights related to MASP-2, the antibodies targeting MASP-2 and the therapeutic applications for those antibodies from the University of Leicester, from its collaborator, Medical Research Council at Oxford University, and from Helion Biotech ApS. Omeros is currently scaling up the manufacture of its lead anti-MASP-2 antibody candidate for use in clinical trials.
About Omeros' MASP-2 Program
MASP-2 is a novel pro-inflammatory protein target involved in activation of the complement system, which is an important component of the immune system. The complement system plays a role in the inflammatory response and becomes activated as a result of tissue damage or microbial pathogen invasion. MASP-2 appears to be unique to, and required for the function of, one of the principal complement activation pathways, known as the lectin pathway. Importantly, inhibition of MASP-2 does not appear to interfere with the antibody-dependent classical complement activation pathway, which is a critical component of the acquired immune response to infection, and its abnormal function is associated with a wide range of autoimmune disorders. MASP-2 is generated by the liver and is then released into the circulation. Adult humans who are genetically deficient in one of the proteins that activate MASP-2 do not appear to be detrimentally affected by the deficiency. Therefore, Omeros believes that it may be possible to deliver anti-MASP-2 antibodies systemically.
About Omeros Corporation
Omeros is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company committed to discovering, developing and commercializing products focused on inflammation, bleeding and disorders of the central nervous system. The Company's most clinically advanced product candidates are derived from its proprietary PharmacoSurgery™ platform designed to improve clinical outcomes of patients undergoing a wide range of surgical and medical procedures. Omeros has five ongoing clinical development programs. Omeros may also have the near-term capability, through its GPCR program, to add a large number of new drug targets and their corresponding compounds to the market. Behind its clinical candidates and GPCR platform, Omeros is building a diverse pipeline of protein and small-molecule preclinical programs targeting inflammation, bleeding and central nervous system disorders.
This press release contains forward-looking statements as defined within the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, which are subject to the "safe harbor" created by those sections. These statements include, but are not limited to, statements regarding the potential range of disorders that MASP-2 inhibition may treat; and that Omeros may have the near-term capability, through its GPCR program, to add a large number of new drug targets and their corresponding compounds to the market. Forward-looking statements are based on management's beliefs and assumptions and on information available to management only as of the date of this press release. Omeros' actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements for many reasons, including, without limitation, the risks, uncertainties and other factors described under the heading "Risk Factors" in the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on March 15, 2011. Given these risks, uncertainties and other factors, you should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, and the Company assumes no obligation to update these forward-looking statements publicly, even if new information becomes available in the future.
SOURCE Omeros Corporation