April 5, 2010
Asahi Kasei Pharma Corp.

License agreement for anti-glaucoma drug
Asahi Kasei Pharma has concluded a license agreement with US-based biopharmaceutical venture Altheos, Inc., granting Altheos exclusive rights to develop and sell Asahi Kasei Pharma's AK138-series compounds as novel anti-glaucoma therapy in all territories throughout the world outside Japan and Korea.

The basic research conducted by Asahi Kasei Pharma has confirmed that the compounds of the AK138 series act as selective Rho-kinase inhibitors and show excellent potential to facilitate strong and lasting reduction of intraocular pressure. In accordance with this agreement, Altheos will commence the development of a new anti-glaucoma drug referred to as ATS-907, with funding through venture capital investment.

Asahi Kasei Pharma is confident in the drug-development potential of Altheos, and will provide Altheos its thorough support in the development and sale of the new anti-glaucoma drug ATS-907, to contribute to the treatment of patients around the world.
Profile of Altheos, Inc.
CEO: Henry H. Hsu, MD
Location: South San Francisco, California
Business line: Research and development of new drugs
Major investors: Bay City Capital, Novo A/S, Canaan Partners
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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