MIAMI, FL and JUPITER, FL, March 9, 2012 – The Scripps Research Institute and OPKO Health, Inc. (NYSE: OPK) today announced a global agreement for the development and commercialization of SR 3306, a novel compound discovered by scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute that blocks the destruction of brains cells in animal models of Parkinson's disease.
"This licensing agreement will help insure that the development of this promising compound keeps moving forward," said Scripps Research Professor Philip LoGrasso, Ph.D., whose laboratory has led the research on the compound to date. "This is one of the best opportunities we have for the development of an effective neuroprotective treatment for Parkinson's patients."
Under the terms of the agreement, Scripps Research has granted to OPKO Health exclusive worldwide rights to develop, manufacture, and commercialize SR 3306 and related compounds that inhibit a class of enzymes called jun-N-terminal kinsases (JNK) that play an important role in neuron survival. The new compound would potentially be the first to protect the brain from the ravages of Parkinson's disease.
"We are excited to be working with Dr. LoGrasso and The Scripps Research Institute to develop this important compound which could prevent the progression of Parkinson's disease and not just treat the symptoms of the disease," said Phillip Frost, M.D., Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of OPKO.
Parkinson's disease, a degenerative neurological disorder that reduces the brain's ability to produce dopamine, affects about 1 million Americans. Currently prescribed drugs for Parkinson's disease—including levodopa and so-called MAO-B inhibitors—can counteract symptoms of the disease but not stop its progression.
The LoGrasso lab described SR-3306 in a pair of studies published in February 2011 in the journal ACS Chemical Neuroscience.
About The Scripps Research Institute
The Scripps Research Institute is one of the world's largest independent, non-profit biomedical research organizations. Scripps Research is internationally recognized for its discoveries in immunology, molecular and cellular biology, chemistry, neuroscience, and vaccine development, as well as for its insights into autoimmune, cardiovascular, and infectious disease. Headquartered in La Jolla, California, the institute also includes a campus in Jupiter, Florida, where scientists focus on drug discovery and technology development in addition to basic biomedical science. Scripps Research currently employs about 3,000 scientists, staff, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students on its two campuses. The institute's graduate program, which awards Ph.D. degrees in biology and chemistry, is ranked among the top ten such programs in the nation. For more information, see www.scripps.edu.
About OPKO Health, Inc.
OPKO is a multi-national biopharmaceutical and diagnostics company that seeks to establish industry-leading positions in large and rapidly growing medical markets by leveraging its discovery, development and commercialization expertise and novel and proprietary technologies.
Forward Looking Statements:
Any statements that are not historical facts contained in this release are "forward-looking statements" as that term is defined under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (PSLRA), which statements may be identified by words such as "expects," "plans," "projects," "will," "may," "anticipates," "believes," "should," "intends," "estimates," and other words of similar meaning, including statements regarding the anticipated benefits and opportunities of SR 3306, such as statements about its ability to prevent the progression of Parkinson's disease, block the destruction of brain cells in patients with Parkinson's disease and protect the brain from the ravages of the disease, as well as statements that SR 3306 represents one of the best opportunities we have for the development of an effective neuroprotective treatment for Parkinson's patients. Many factors could cause our actual activities or results to differ materially from the activities and results anticipated in forward-looking statements. These factors include those described in OPKO's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, and risks inherent in funding, developing and obtaining regulatory approvals of new, commercially-viable and competitive products and treatments. In addition, forward-looking statements may also be adversely affected by general market factors, competitive product development, product availability, federal and state regulations and legislation, the regulatory process for new products and indications, manufacturing issues that may arise, patent positions and litigation, among other factors. The forward-looking statements contained in this press release speak only as of the date the statements were made, and neither OPKO or Scripps undertakes any obligation to update forward-looking statements. We intend that all for
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