OptiKira Awarded Phase II SBIR Grant

Grant will support development of a new treatment for retinitis pigmentosa

CLEVELAND— MAY 30, 2019—  OptiKira, LLC, a privately-held biotechnology company developing drugs that inhibit the unfolded protein response (UPR), announced today that it was awarded a Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant to support continued development of a therapy that has the potential to preserve vision in patients with retinitis pigmentosa (RP). The $1.6M grant will be used to advance one or more of OptiKira’s most promising compounds into investigational new drug-enabling studies.

“This grant will play an integral role in advancing our compound to our next phase of development,” said Tim Pelura, PhD, CEO of OptiKira. “We are hopeful that our novel approach to the treatment of retinitis pigmentosa will eventually lead to a breakthrough therapy for the more than 100,000 Americans living with this condition.”

Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is a rare, genetic disorder that causes the loss of photoreceptors in the retina, resulting in progressive loss of vision. OptiKira’s research team discovered that, by targeting the UPR and regulating its activity to favor an adaptive rather than destructive pathway, cell death and degeneration is prevented not only in RP, but in a variety of other diseases, including fibrotic diseases such as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, cancer, diabetes, and various neurodegenerative diseases. Proof of concept has been demonstrated in mouse models of RP, diabetes, fibrosis, and cancer; with ongoing proof of concept studies underway.

OptiKira was formed in 2015 by BioMotiv, the for-profit collaborator of The Harrington Project for Discovery & Development, the University of California, San Francisco, and the University of Washington. The company has received support from Arix Bioscience, the Harrington Discovery Institute at University Hospitals in Cleveland, Ohio, which is supported in part by a grant from the Ohio Third Frontier, two National Institutes of Health Small Business Technology Transfer grants, and the ALS Association. OptiKira’s technologies are exclusively licensed from UCSF and the University of Washington.

Click here to learn more about OptiKira.

About BioMotiv
BioMotiv is the mission-driven accelerator associated with The Harrington Project for Discovery & Development, a $340 million initiative for advancing medicine centered at University Hospitals in Cleveland. The focus is to accelerate breakthrough discoveries from research institutions into therapeutics for patients through an innovative model that efficiently aligns capital and collaborations. The company leverages an experienced team and advisory board to select, fund, and actively manage and advance a portfolio of drug development programs.

For more information, go to: www.biomotiv.com.

About The Harrington Project for Discovery & Development 
The Harrington Project for Discovery & Development (The Harrington Project) is a $340 million national initiative built to bridge the translational valley of death. It includes the Harrington Discovery Institute at University Hospitals in Cleveland and BioMotiv, a for-profit, mission-aligned drug development company that accelerates early discoveries into medicines for benefit of society. 

For more information, go to: HarringtonDiscovery.org.

About Arix Bioscience Limited and Group
Arix Bioscience plc is a global healthcare and life science company supporting medical innovation. Headquartered in London and with an office in New York, Arix Bioscience sources, finances and builds world class healthcare and life science businesses addressing medical innovation at all stages of development. Operations are supported by privileged access to breakthrough academic science and strategic relationships with leading research accelerators and global pharmaceutical companies.

Arix Bioscience plc is listed on the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange.

For more information, go to: www.arixbioscience.com

Erin Reese