Rensselaer, NY, March 27, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Pulmokine announced it has been awarded a Stage B Vascular Interventions and Therapeutic Advances (VITA) contract from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Proceeds from the contract will be used to develop an inhaled PDGF receptor kinase inhibitor for the treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). The VITA contract will fund the performance of studies that will support an Investigational New Drug (IND) application to be submitted to the FDA. The potential value of the award is approximately $1.5 Million over three years.
"Preclinical results of our novel, inhaled PDGF receptor inhibitor are quite compelling, showing a meaningful decrease in pulmonary pressures in animal models of PAH. Importantly, by interfering with the PDGF receptor pathway, our candidates have the potential to address an underlying cause of PAH, not merely to alleviate its symptoms," said Dr. Zisman, the CEO of Pulmokine. "The VITA contract will allow us to complete additional studies required to advance our lead candidate into Phase 1 clinical trials in patients with PAH."
"The new NHLBI VITA Program was designed to provide support for early-stage development of meritorious product concepts that address unmet medical needs in the fields of vascular disorders, thrombotic diseases, and PAH. We are pleased to enable academic inventors and small life science companies like Pulmokine in their efforts to develop promising new disease-modifying therapeutic interventions for important, yet neglected medical conditions," said Dr. Zorina Galis, Chief of the Vascular Biology and Hypertension Branch, NHLBI Division of Cardiovascular Sciences. "While research into PAH treatments has progressed in recent years, more work is needed to better understand the pathways involved and translate this knowledge into new treatments to halt progression of the disease."
Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a pulmonary vascular disease characterized by high pressure in the blood supply to the lungs. PAH is a progressive disease associated with a high morbidity and mortality. It is caused by a constellation of diseases that affect the pulmonary vasculature. These include primary genetic abnormalities, systemic sclerosis (scleroderma), mixed connective tissue disease, uncorrected congenital heart disease, portal hypertension, HIV infection, and other disorders.
The pathology of PAH consists of proliferation of cells in small pulmonary arterioles. It has been proposed that PAH is a "cancer" of pulmonary arteriolar endothelial cells. The paradigm of PAH as a neoplastic process provides a rationale to develop anti-proliferative kinase inhibitors for this disease.
Pulmokine is a privately held biopharmaceutical company. The mission of Pulmokine is to develop new treatments for pulmonary hypertension and related disorders. Pulmokine has an exclusive license from Gilead to develop a portfolio of PDGFR inhibitors for PAH. Funding sources include equity investment and NIH grants.
Pulmokine pursues in-licensing and partnership opportunities related to pulmonary and cardiovascular diseases. We also provide fee for service work for pre-clinical efficacy studies. Our capabilities include measurement of pulmonary function, telemetry pressure monitoring, measurement of pressure volume loops, and drug delivery by inhalation.
In addition Pulmokine is developing a novel class of kinase inhibitors through in silico modeling and in vitro screening to treat asthma and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.
About the VITA Program
The Vascular Interventions/Innovations and Therapeutic Advances (VITA) Program is a new translational initiative of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) that is intended to enable and accelerate the development of promising diagnostic and therapeutic modalities for the certain diseases within the mission of the NHLBI.