Fremont, CA – July 27, 2009, — Quark Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a development-stage pharmaceutical company discovering and developing novel RNA interference (RNAi)-based therapeutics, today announced data suggesting that QPI-1007 prevents progressive retinal ganglion cell (RGC) loss in an increased ocular pressure (IOP) rat model of glaucoma. The experiments performed by Prof. Adriana Di Polo of the Department of Pathology and Cell Biology, Université de Montréal, indicate that QPI-1007 has the potential to treat patients with glaucoma. QPI-1007 is being evaluated in advanced IND-enabling preclinical studies as a neuroprotective agent for eye diseases.
QPI-1007 is Quark’s first proprietary siRNA drug candidate developed in collaboration with BioSpring GmbH, with its own intellectual property that gives Quark freedom to operate in the siRNA IP space. Previously announced studies have demonstrated a robust neuroprotective effect of QPI-1007 in two additional models of retinal ganglion cell (RGC) death – induced by optic nerve crush or axotomy. In those studies, QPI-1007 was administered immediately after the optic nerve injury. In the current IOP study, QPI-1007 was administered 2 weeks after disease induction when more than 25% of RGCs have already been lost. Whereas RGC loss progressed in the control eyes, loss of RGCs was completely blocked in the QPI-1007-treated eyes
Dr. Daniel Zurr, Quark’s Chief Executive Officer, stated, “Quark is pleased to announce additional data supporting the therapeutic potential of QPI-1007 – the first siRNA drug candidate based on our own IP – as well as our proven ability to advance siRNA products from discovery to the clinic. Our leadership position within the RNAi field is set to continue with the upcoming IND filing for QPI-1007 to support initial clinical studies in non-arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy. Quark has the largest portfolio of clinical-stage siRNAs and all of our pipeline candidates have exhibited optimal activity and stability while attenuating potential off-target effects.”
Prof. Di Polo commented, “In patients with glaucoma, characteristic visual field changes and vision loss are caused by the death of retinal ganglion cells. While existing therapeutics are capable of reducing IOP, none act as selective neuroprotective agents. We are encouraged by the QPI-1007 data, which suggest a neuroprotective effect on retinal ganglion cells in experimental glaucoma, presenting a major breakthrough in novel treatments for this neurodegenerative disease.”
About Quark Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Quark Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a development-stage pharmaceutical company engaged in discovering and developing novel RNAi-based therapeutics. Quark has a fully integrated drug development platform that spans therapeutic target identification to drug development. Quark’s RNAi technology includes novel siRNA structures and chemistry providing Quark with freedom to operate in the siRNA intellectual property arena, as well as the ability for non-invasive delivery of siRNA to other target tissues including the eye, ear, lung, spinal cord and brain.
PF-4523655 (RTP801i-14), currently in Phase II clinical trials, is a synthetic, chemically modified siRNA designed to inhibit the expression of the gene RTP801 discovered by Quark through the gene discovery platform BiFAR. PF-4523655 is licensed to Pfizer. In addition, Quark’s current clinical pipeline includes QPI-1002, the first systemically administered siRNA drug in human clinical trials, developed by Quark for the prevention of acute kidney injury (AKI) following major cardiovascular surgery and the prophylaxis of delayed graft function after kidney transplantation.
Quark has a broad pipeline of siRNA drug candidates based on novel structures developed internally and is utilizing the chemistry to develop additional RNAi drug candidates. QPI-1007 is the most advanced and the first expected to enter clinical trials.
Quark is headquartered in Fremont, California and operates research and development facilities in Boulder, Colorado and Ness-Ziona, Israel. Additional information is available atwww.quarkpharma.com.