Fremont, CA – March 03, 2005 – Quark Biotech, Inc. (QBI) announced today that it has been granted a Notice of Allowance from the United States Patent and Trademark Office for a patent titled, “p53 inhibitors and therapeutic use of the same.” Assigned to the University of Illinois at Chicago, this patent is exclusively licensed to Quark. The Company’s R & D programs include the development of p53 inhibitors for the treatment of acute renal failure (ARF) and the treatment of chemotherapy-induced hair loss (alopecia).
The p53 protein is essential for the induction of programmed cell death as a response to DNA damaging conditions. For instance, most anti-cancer therapies either damage or kill healthy cells expressing p53, resulting in severe side effects. The temporary suppression of p53 during the acute phase of anti-cancer therapy is able to limit or to avoid severe toxic events, such as chemotherapy-induced alopecia. This Notice of Allowance is for a broad claim regarding the method of reversibly inhibiting p53 for a sufficient time to allow normal cells in a host to recover from a stress-inducing event affecting cells, including trauma, hyperthermia, hypoxia, ischemia, stroke, burn, seizure, and DNA damage.
In 1999, Quark first described this concept in the publication Science in a paper entitled “A Chemical Inhibitor of p53 That Protects Mice From the Side Effects of Cancer Therapy” (Science 1999, Sept 10; 285). The research, led by Prof. Andrei V. Gudkov, was performed in collaboration with the University of Illinois in Chicago.
“We are excited to have been granted this Notice of Allowance, since the claims allowed are broad and cover the use of all p53 inhibitors,” said Dr. Daniel Zurr, chief executive officer of Quark Biotech, Inc. “Temporary and reversible inhibition of p53 is a novel concept, and will allow for the treatment of conditions with unmet medical needs such as ARF and chemotherapy-induced hair loss. We have already identified several products such as the small molecule drug candidate Pifithrin-Alpha (PFT), a temporary and reversible inhibitor of p53, and positive results have been shown in two animal models of ARF.”
About Acute Renal Failure (ARF)
ARF is a complex and dynamic process, which involves renal vasculature and tubules leading to renal injury. ARF is characterized by rapid decline in kidney function that complicates approximately 1-5 percent of hospital admissions and up to 30 percent of admissions to intensive care units. The condition is associated with major in-hospital morbidity and mortality. To date no specific medical treatment is available for treatment of ARF, except for renal replacement therapy.
About Chemotherapy-Induced Alopecia
Hair loss is one of the most feared side effects of chemotherapy among patients with cancer. Currently, there are no satisfactory modes of therapy for the prevention and/or treatment of toxic alopecia.
About Quark Biotech, Inc.
Quark Biotech, Inc. is a privately held development-stage, biopharmaceutical company headquartered in Fremont, CA. Through innovative combination of gene silencing and DNA microarray technology, Quark has pioneered and patented its BiFARTM platform for high-throughput functional profiling, allowing significant advances in the identification of target genes and proteins. This technology allows the company to develop conceptually novel drugs that provide previously unavailable benefits to patients. Quark is currently harvesting novel targets identified using this enabling foundation technology. Quark has focused development efforts on treatment of fibrotic and ischemic diseases of the eye, kidney and lungs, in indications with clear unmet medical needs.