Novel Target Identified as Potential Therapeutic Approach for Lymphedema
PALO ALTO, Calif., November 11, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Eiger BioPharmaceuticals, Inc. today announced that it has acquired an exclusive license to technology for targeting effects of leukotriene B4 (LTB4) to reverse structural tissue changes and improve lymphatic function, providing a potential therapeutic approach for treating lymphedema. The technology was invented by Dr. Stanley Rockson, MD, Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at Stanford University and Director of the Stanford Center for Lymphatic and Venous Disorders.
Lymphedema is the build-up of fluid in soft body tissues when the lymph system has been damaged or blocked. It is characterized by swelling due to abnormal transport of lymphatic fluid and thickening or hardening of the skin in affected areas. As fluid builds up, swelling occurs, usually in an arm or a leg, but can also affect other parts of the body. Lymphedema often causes long-term physical, psychological, and social problems for patients and significantly impacts quality of life. There is no approved prescription therapy.
“Stanford researchers have demonstrated for the first time that a naturally-occurring inflammatory substance known as LTB4 is elevated in both animal models of lymphedema as well as human lymphedema and that elevated LTB4 is associated with tissue inflammation and impaired lymphatic function,” said Joanne Quan, MD, Chief Medical Officer at Eiger. “Targeted pharmacologic inhibition of LTB4 promotes physiologic lymphatic repair and reverses lymphedema disease in treated animals.”
“There are no approved pharmacologic agents for lymphedema today,” said David Cory, President and Chief Executive Officer at Eiger. “Dr. Rockson’s work demonstrates a novel function of LTB4 in the pathogenesis of lymphedema suggesting that blocking the effects of LTB4 may be a promising and safe new therapeutic strategy for this disorder. Eiger is committed to the next step, initiating a clinical study to explore if blocking the effects of LTB4 may be a useful new treatment for lymphedema.”
Lymphedema can be either primary (occurs on its own) or secondary (caused by another disease or condition). Primary Lymphedema is caused by the absence of certain lymph vessels at birth, or abnormalities in the lymphatic vessels. It can be divided into three forms, depending on age of onset. The prevalence of Primary Lymphedema is less than 200,000 in the US and less than 5 in 10,000 in the EU, and is expected to be eligible for Orphan Designation by regulatory authorities. Secondary Lymphedema usually develops as a result of a blockage or interruption that alters the flow of lymph through the lymphatic system and can develop from an infection, malignancy, surgery, scar tissue formation, trauma, radiation, or other cancer treatment. Primary Lymphedema and Secondary Lymphedema can both be debilitating disorders with negative impact on quality of life and a large unmet medical need exists for an effective therapy. There is no approved pharmacologic treatment for Lymphedema.
Eiger is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company committed to bringing to market novel products for the treatment of Orphan diseases. The company has built a diverse, late-stage portfolio of well-characterized product candidates with the potential to address diseases for which the unmet medical need is high, the biology for treatment is clear, and for which an effective therapy is urgently needed.
SOURCE Eiger Bio, Inc.
Investors: Jim Shaffer, Eiger Bio, Inc., 919-345-4256, firstname.lastname@example.org