SOUTHAMPTON, England, November 5, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --
KalVista Pharmaceuticals ("KalVista") today announces it has won a £2.4 million grant from the Technology Strategy Board under the UK Government's £180 million Biomedical Catalyst funding initiative for research and development in the life sciences. KalVista will use the new funding to accelerate the development of an oral plasma kallikrein inhibitor for the treatment of diabetic macular edema (DME), the leading cause of working-age adult blindness.
The current first-line treatment for DME is laser or Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) inhibitors but there is still no National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) approved pharmacological therapy available in the UK so there remains a medical and economic need for these patients. Plasma kallikrein is an enzyme recently shown to be elevated in the vitreous of DME patients and to cause excessive vascular permeability in models of diabetes, suggesting its potential as a novel VEGF-independent target for the treatment of DME.
The Biomedical Catalyst grant will allow KalVista to complete pre-clinical development of oral plasma kallikrein inhibitors identified by the Company and prepare a drug candidate ready for Phase I clinical development.
"We are very pleased to have secured Biomedical Catalyst funding for the development of an oral plasma kallikrein inhibitor for DME," said Andrew Crockett, KalVista's CEO. "It is a recognition of the potential of our approach and the expertise of our team and will allow us to bring to the clinic more rapidly a new treatment that we hope will ultimately improve outcomes for patients with what is a very serious complication in diabetes.
"The oral programme will run alongside our $2.2 million collaboration with the JDRF, the leading global organization focused on type 1 diabetes (T1D) research, for the development of an intravitreal (IVT) injectable form of plasma kallikrein inhibitor. That collaboration is progressing well with first in human trials planned for next year. We look forward to similarly rapid progress under the Biomedical Catalyst grant."
KalVista's oral and intravitreal injection plasma kallikrein inhibitor programmes both draw on the Company's established leadership position and expertise with this target class. While both routes of administration offer potential benefits to patients, a successful oral drug would offer a novel delivery approach for better patient acceptability and the possibility of earlier treatment of the disease.
Notes to Editors
About KalVista Pharmaceuticals
KalVista is an ophthalmology company with a focus on diabetic macular edema (DME). KalVista is developing novel plasma kallikrein inhibitors, which represents a new approach to the treatment of DME, a leading cause of adult visual loss in developed countries. KalVista has an advanced pre-clinical product pipeline and is targeting both intravitreal injection and oral administration. Although VEGF inhibitors clearly can benefit DME, a significant number of patients do not respond fully to these agents and have limited treatment options. Plasma kallikrein inhibitors target a distinct molecular pathway and as such have the potential to offer those patients an effective treatment option.
KalVista's founders include world-leading experts in diabetic retinopathy, Dr Lloyd Paul Aiello, Professor of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School and Director of the Joslin's Beetham Eye Institute, and Dr Edward Feener, Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Joslin Diabetes Center. In addition to this therapeutic expertise, KalVista has a management team with proven experience in bringing small molecules through the clinic to commercialisation and as a result has attracted significant financial backing from leading life science investors, SV Life Sciences and Novo Ventures. http://www.kalvista.com
About the Biomedical Catalyst
The Biomedical Catalyst, announced by Prime Minister David Cameron in December 2011, is a programme of public funding designed to deliver growth to the UK life sciences sector. Delivered jointly by the Medical Research Council and the Technology Strategy Board, the Biomedical Catalyst provides responsive and effective support for the best life science opportunities arising in the UK. The programme is open to UK academics and SMEs and seeks to support those opportunities which demonstrate the highest scientific and commercial potential, irrespective of medical area. For further information please visit: http://www.innovateuk.org/content/competition/biomedical-catalyst.ashx
About the Technology Strategy Board
The Technology Strategy Board is the UK's innovation agency. Its goal is to accelerate economic growth by stimulating and supporting business-led innovation. Sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), the Technology Strategy Board brings together business, research and the public sector, supporting and accelerating the development of innovative products and services to meet market needs, tackle major societal challenges and help build the future economy. For more information please visit http://www.innovateuk.org.
Andrew Crockett, CEO +44-(0)23-8076-3480 /+44-(0)7872-559676
Citigate Dewe Rogerson
Mark Swallow / Chris Gardner / Nina Enegren +44-(0)207-638-9571
SOURCE KalVista Pharmaceuticals