OPKO Health to Acquire Two Phase 3 Products
New Vitamin D Prohormone and Phosphate Binder for Kidney Disease Patients
MIAMI--(BUSINESS WIRE)--OPKO Health, Inc. (NYSE:OPK) has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Cytochroma Inc. (Markham, Canada) whose lead products, both in phase 3 clinical trials, are Replidea™ (coded CTAP101 Capsules), a vitamin D prohormone to treat secondary hyperparathyroidism (SHPT) in patients with stage 3 or 4 chronic kidney disease (CKD) and vitamin D insufficiency, and Alpharen™, a non-absorbed phosphate binder to treat hyperphosphatemia in dialysis patients.
Replidea™ has been shown in a phase 2b clinical trial to effectively and safely treat SHPT and the underlying vitamin D insufficiency in pre-dialysis patients. Vitamin D insufficiency arises in CKD due to the abnormal upregulation of CYP24, an enzyme which destroys vitamin D and its metabolites. Studies in CKD patients have demonstrated that currently available over-the-counter and prescription vitamin D products cannot reliably raise blood vitamin D prohormone levels or effectively treat SHPT.
“OPKO intends to market Replidea™ along with our proprietary point-of-care vitamin D diagnostic test currently in development,” stated Phillip Frost, MD, CEO and Chairman. “We envision these remarkable products as part of the foundation for a new and markedly improved standard of care for chronic kidney disease patients having SHPT and/or hyperphosphatemia.”
Alpharen™ has been shown safe and effective in treating hyperphosphatemia in the phase 2 and 3 clinical trials undertaken to date in dialysis patients. Hyperphosphatemia (elevated serum phosphorus) exacerbates SHPT and promotes bone disease, soft tissue mineralization and progression of kidney disease. Approximately 90% of dialysis patients in the United States require regular treatment.
Cytochroma’s officers, including Charles W. Bishop, PhD, CEO, an authority on developing and commercializing successful new vitamin D therapies, and Eric J. Messner, MBA, having a noteworthy track record in pharmaceutical business development and in marketing and sales in the CKD arena, will join the OPKO management team. Prior to Cytochroma, Dr. Bishop and Mr. Messner held key positions at Bone Care International, Inc., a leader in vitamin D therapeutics acquired by Genzyme Corporation, now a division of Sanofi.
About Chronic Kidney Disease
CKD is a condition characterized by a progressive decline in kidney function. The kidney is normally responsible for excreting waste and excess water from the body, and for regulating various hormones. CKD is classified in five different stages – mild (stage 1) to severe (stage 5) disease – as measured by the kidney’s glomerular filtration rate. According to the National Kidney Foundation, CKD afflicts over 26 million people in the US, including more than eight million patients with stage 3 and 4 CKD. In stage 5, kidney function is minimal to absent and patients require regular dialysis or a kidney transplant for survival.
About Vitamin D Insufficiency
Vitamin D insufficiency is a condition in which blood levels of vitamin D prohormones, collectively known as 25-hydroxyvitamin D, are inadequate. An estimated 70-90% of CKD patients have vitamin D insufficiency which can lead to SHPT and its debilitating consequences.
About Secondary Hyperparathyroidism (SHPT)
SHPT is a condition commonly associated with CKD in which the parathyroid glands secrete excessive amounts of parathyroid hormone (PTH). SHPT arises as a result of vitamin D insufficiency or impaired kidney function. Prolonged elevation of blood PTH causes excessive calcium and phosphorus to be released from bone, leading to elevated serum calcium and phosphorus levels, softening of the bones (osteomalacia) and calcification of vascular and renal tissues. SHPT affects 40-60% of patients with stage 3 and 4 CKD and approximately 90% of patients with stage 5.
Hyperphosphatemia, or elevated serum phosphorus, is common in dialysis patients and tightly linked to the progression of SHPT. The kidneys provide the primary route of excretion for excess phosphorus absorbed from ingested food. As kidney function worsens, serum phosphorus levels increase and directly stimulate PTH secretion. Stage 5 CKD patients must reduce their dietary phosphate intake and usually require regular treatment with phosphate binding agents to lower serum phosphorus to meet the recommendations of the National Kidney Foundation’s Clinical Practice Guidelines that serum phosphorus levels should be maintained at <5.5 mg/dL.
About OPKO Health, Inc.
OPKO is a multinational biopharmaceutical and diagnostics company that seeks to establish industry leading positions in large, rapidly growing markets by leveraging its discovery, development and commercialization expertise and novel and proprietary technologies.