Why Toll-Like Receptor-2 Has Blockbuster Potential

Interview with: Martin Welschof, Chief Executive Officer, Opsona Therapeutics

“Key structures of the innate immune system, such as toll-like receptors, have not really been tried yet for therapeutic intervention. Toll-like receptor-2 (TLR-2) has blockbuster potential, as the target is associated with many large disease areas,” says Martin Welschof, Chief Executive Officer , Opsona Therapeutics.

Welschof is a speaker at the marcus evans Evolution Summit 2014, in Monte Carlo, Monaco, 20 - 22 October.

What potential does the innate immune system hold for treating inflammatory diseases?

The innate immune system is considered to represent a new frontier in clinical development . Toll -like receptors have great potential but they have not been tried yet. Opsona is the first company to have a TLR-2 inhibitor in clinical development. New targets have not been validated yet, but based on what is known in biology, TLR-2 is associated with a broad range of major human diseases, including inflamma-tory, renal, cardiovascular, autoimmune and Alzheimer’s diseases, as well as cancer and acne. This has been confirmed by the scientific community.

What we have developed is a humanised monoclonal antibody that blocks the initiation and propagation of inflammation via TLR-2.All the disease areas I mentioned have one important feature in common: they are based on inflammatory processes initiated via TLR-2.There already are some anti - inflammatory compounds that block inflammation, but with OPN-305 we can block ones of the key initiators further upstream and be more specific in the intervention of inflammation.

What is the commercial potential of this compound?

The main interest in the compound is broad. Being a small company, we cannot explore its full potential, so we are focusing on ischemia reperfusion injury related indications and a clinical trial for prevention of delayed graft function in kidney transplantation.We are currently exploring two additional specific indications where we might initiate clinical development, and will try to find a partner who can unlock the full potential of the compound.

When we were filing our intellectual property, we made sure to protect the specific binding side of the antibody as well as the antibody itself of course.That is why we have a very good proprietary position for TLR-2 inhibitors based on antibodies.If we can show that it works, then it will be quite interesting commercially for large companies, as they will then be able to acquire the compound for certain disease indications and enjoy a proprietary position until the patent runs out in 2030.

About the Evolution Summit 2014

This the 13th annual Evolution Summit is the premium forum bringing elite buyers and sellers together. The Summit offers clinical research leaders and global CROs an intimate environment for focused discussion of key new drivers shaping drug development strategies. Taking place at Le Méridien Beach Plaza, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, 20 - 22 October 2014, the Summit includes presentations on evolving CRO alliances, boosting pipeline productivity, bridging pre-clinical and clinical trials, site selection and improving clinical trial timelines and outlines.



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