Initiation of Phase IIa Clinical Trial for Glaucoma Drug Candidate by Altheos, Inc.

February 13, 2012
Asahi Kasei Pharma Corp.

A Phase IIa clinical trial has begun in the United States for ATS907, one of the AK138-series compounds developed by Asahi Kasei Pharma for their potential to lower elevated intraocular pressure in glaucoma patients and licensed in all territories throughout the world except Japan and Korea to Altheos, Inc., a venture-backed biopharmaceutical company based in South San Francisco, CA.

In stage one of the Phase IIa study, Altheos will examine the safety and efficacy of ATS907 in subjects with glaucoma and/or ocular hypertension after 28 days of ophthalmic administration. Altheos expects to initiate the second stage of the trial, a comparison of ATS907 and latanoprost, a prostaglandin analogue, following completion of the first stage.

Basic research conducted by Asahi Kasei Pharma confirmed that ATS907 acts as a selective Rho-kinase inhibitor and shows excellent potential to facilitate strong and lasting reduction of intraocular pressure. Asahi Kasei Pharma designed and developed ATS907 specifically for topical ocular use, and it is well differentiated from other Rho-kinase inhibitors in development. Altheos conducted all required non-clinical studies of ATS907 in support of a successful investigational new drug (IND) filing late last year with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) prior to initiating this Phase IIa study.

About Altheos, Inc.

Altheos is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of a new generation of promising, novel, small-molecule drugs for the treatment of ocular diseases.

About Rho-kinase inhibitors

Rho-kinase is a protein kinase that is known as an enzyme involved in control of the constriction of vascular smooth muscle, migration of inflammatory cells, and functional regulation of endothelial cells. In recent years, it has become apparent that Rho-kinase inhibitors act on trabecular meshwork cells, improve the outflow of aqueous humor, and substantially reduce intraocular pressure. Furthermore, it has been reported that basic research indicates that Rho-kinase inhibitors have a protective effect on the optic nerve. Rho-kinase inhibitors are thus the subject of increasing attention as a potential new class of anti-glaucoma drug.

About glaucoma

Glaucoma is an ophthalmic disease that is often characterized by increased intraocular pressure. The main objective in the treatment of glaucoma is to inhibit visual field loss, and reducing intraocular pressure is currently considered to be the only effective treatment.


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