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QLT Announces Issuance of US Patent for Use of QLT091001

01-Jun-2011 | Source : AG-IP News | Visits : 5783

VANCOUVER, CANADA - QLT Inc. announced in a press release the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) has issued a key patent related to its synthetic retinoid program.

US Patent No. 7,951,841 entitled, “Retinal Derivatives and Methods for the Use Thereof for the Treatment of Visual Disorders” is the first US patent in the Company’s portfolio related to its synthetic retinoid program. The patent covers various methods of use of QLT091001 in the treatment of diseases associated with an endogenous 11-cis-retinal deficiency.

11-cis-retinal is a key biochemical component of the visual retinoid cycle, the deficiency of which is associated with certain inherited or age-related retinal diseases, including Leber Congenital Amaurosis LCA) and Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP). QLT091001 is an orally administered synthetic retinoid replacement for 11-cis-retinal, and is currently under investigation by QLT for the treatment of LCA and RP.

“Following the recent grant of orphan drug designations in the United States for QLT091001 in the treatment of LCA and RP, the issuance of this patent brings additional value and protection to our synthetic retinoid program,” said Bob Butchofsky, president and chief executive officer of QLT.

“This patent represents a significant milestone in this program and we will continue to invest in strengthening our patent portfolio in the United States and other major jurisdictions.”

The US patent is owned by the University of Washington. QLT has an exclusive sub-license to the patent through its Co-Development Agreement with Retinagenix LLC. Based on the period of patent term adjustment indicated in the Issue Notification from the USPTO, the patent has a term expiring on May 11, 2027.

Corresponding patent applications have been filed in certain major markets and are currently pending or issued.

LCA is an inherited degenerative retinal disease characterized by abnormalities such as roving eye movements and sensitivity to light, and manifesting in severe vision loss from birth. Eye examinations of infants with LCA reveal normal appearing retinas. However, a low level of retinal activity, measured by electroretinography, indicates very little visual function. Approximately 1 child out of every 81,000 births will inherit the disease. Mutations in the genes for retinal pigment epithelium protein 65 (RPE65) and lecithin:retinol acyltransferase (LRAT) result in an inadequate production of 11-cis-retinal and occur in approximately 10% of patients with LCA and to a lesser extent in Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), another inherited retinal dystrophy.

RP is a set of hereditary retinal diseases demonstrating clinical features similar to LCA and characterized by degeneration of rod and cone photoreceptors. By current epidemiological estimates, there are at least
300,000 patients with RP worldwide, of which less than 5% carry the inherited deficiencies of either RPE65 or LRAT.

Genetic diseases in the eye such as LCA and RP arise from gene mutations of enzymes or proteins required in the biochemistry of vision. QLT091001 is a replacement for 11-cis-retinal, which is an essential component of the retinoid-rhodopsin cycle and visual function. QLT091001 has received orphan drug designations for the treatment of the LRAT and RPE65 genetic mutations in both LCA and RP by the US Food and Drug Administration.

QLT091001 has also received orphan drug designations for the treatment of LCA and RP by the European Medicines Agency.
QLT Inc. is a biotechnology company dedicated to the development and commercialization of innovative therapies for the eye.

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