Opthea Limited (ASX:OPT) announces the grant of Japanese Patent Number 6408492 covering its OPT-302 soluble VEGFR-3 (sVEGFR-3) ‘trap’ molecule. The patent granted is in the name of Opthea’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Vegenics Pty Limited. Opthea is a biopharmaceutical developer of drugs which focuses on ophthalmic disease therapies.
The Japanese patent covers both OPT-302 and compositions containing OPT-302 for use in treating disorders associated with aberrant angiogenesis and/or lymphangiogenesis, including eye diseases such are wet age-related macular degeneration (wet AMD) and diabetic macular edema (DME). The patent term extends to 13 February 2034. Patents covering OPT-302 and extending out to 2034 have now been granted in Japan, the U.S.A., Australia, South Africa, and Singapore and applications are pending in a further 14 countries.
OPT-302 is being investigated in two ongoing clinical trials: A 366 patient phase 2b trial in wet AMD and an approximately 108 patient phase 2a trial in DME. Reporting of primary data analysis from the Phase 2b wet AMD and Phase 2a DME trials is anticipated to occur by the end of the calendar year 2019.
Dr. Megan Baldwin, CEO and MD of Opthea said that Japan currently accounts for approximately 10% of the global market for anti-VEGF-A therapies for the treatment of wet AMD and DME. She further added that as such, obtaining extended patent protection for OPT302 in Japan is key to their business strategy moving forward and further underpins their already strong intellectual property position.
DME is the primary cause of blindness in people with diabetes affecting around 2 million people around the world. Wet AMD is an ailment ascertained through vision loss in the center of the visual field triggered by the degeneration of the central part of the retina (the macula) in people aged 50 years and above.
Looking at the annual report of the year 2017-2018, the group statement of financial position includes the key balances as follows. The consolidated cash balances at 30 June 2018, amounted to $32, 510, 230 (2017: $51,959,906). The receivables of $12, 410, 980 (2017: $3,218,731) included the Opthea Group’s expected refund of R&D tax incentives of $12,17, 248 (2017: $2,709,765). The group recorded $37, 349,456 of net current asset surplus as compared to $53,329, 849 in the previous year. The company recorded net tangible asset backing of $0.19 per share (2017: $0.27 per share). OPT’s share price stood at $0.53 (2017: $0.75).
Following the reporting of successful outcomes from Opthea’s Phase 1/2 a clinical trial of OPT-302 in 51 wet AMD patients in April 2017, the company has expanded and diversified its clinical development program. Currently, Opthea is investigating OPT-302 in two clinical trials to determine if OPT-302 improves visual acuity in patients receiving standard of care therapy for wet AMD and DME.
Looking at OPT’s stock performance and the return it has posted over the last few months, the stock has generated a positive return of 38.05% during the past six months. OPT has 249.41 million shares outstanding with a market capitalization of circa 194.54 million. The shares of OPT closed the day’s session at A$0.780, with no further changes.
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