Appointment of Senior Director of Research and Development

21 September 2018

OKYO Pharma Limited

 

("OKYO Pharma" or the "Company")

 

 

OKYO Pharma appoints Dr. Raj Patil as Senior Director of Research and Development

 

 

OKYO Pharma (LSE: OKYO), a biotechnology company developing first-in-class drug candidates for treatment of sight-threatening eye diseases and non-opioid analgesics, is delighted to announce the appointment of Dr. Raj Patil as Senior Director of Research & Development. Dr. Patil brings more than 25 years of academic and pharmaceutical experience in Ophthalmology and inflammatory diseases. Dr Patil is not assuming a position on the board of directors of OKYO Pharma (the “Board”).

 

Dr. Patil will focus on the non-clinical development of lead compounds through to investigational new drug (IND) submission for dry eye disease, which is most common in adults over the age of 50 and imposes a significant burden on public healthcare.

 

Dr. Patil will also lead non-clinical development of the Company’s lead first-in-class drug candidates as potential non-opioid analgesics for chronic pain management in a strategy aligned with overcoming the current global opioid addiction epidemic, widely recognised as an extremely urgent and unmet medical need. OKYO Pharma in-licensed this technology from the Tufts University, Boston, Massachusetts.

 

Before joining OKYO Pharma, Dr. Patil worked at iVeena as Vice President for Advanced Ocular Delivery Systems. Prior to iVeena, Dr. Patil was an Associate Director of Research at Alcon/Novartis Institute of Biomedical Research and held a number of roles, including Head of Molecular Pharmacology. He was responsible for identification and validation of novel targets in the therapeutic areas of glaucoma, retina, dry eye, allergy and inflammation programs, as well as advancing several preclinical candidates to clinical development. Prior to Alcon, Dr. Patil served as an Associate Professor of Ophthalmology and Cell Biology & Genetics at University of Nebraska Medical Centre, Omaha, Nebraska from 2001 to 2004. He also served as an Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology and Molecular Biology & Pharmacology at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri from 1992 to 2001.

 

Dr. Patil is the recipient of Olga Keith Wiess Special Scholar Award from the Research to Prevent Blindness Foundation and NIH Director’s New Innovator Award. Dr. Patil has authored over 100 peer reviewed research articles including reviews, book chapters, and patents.  He has served as a reviewer and editorial board member for numerous journals and presented as an invited speaker at United States and international Ophthalmology Conferences.

 

Willy Simon, Chairman of OKYO Pharma, commented:  "OKYO Pharma is fully committed to developing and growing our pipeline to treat vision impairing disorders and a non-opioid based therapy for chronic pain management.  To achieve this the Board recognises the need to attract top talent, such as Dr. Patil. ‎I am confident that together with our pipeline and highly experienced team we will continue to drive the Company forward to significant future success." 

 

Dr. Patil commented: "OKYO Pharma’s investment in dry eye is very timely in light of the fact that there are only two drugs available on the market which seek to address this prevalent disorder. OKYO Pharma’s pledge to discover first-in-class non-opioid analgesics to manage chronic pain is equally timely given the need to address the current global opioid crisis. I am excited to join the OKYO Pharma team, which is focused on drug development for underserved sectors of ophthalmology and pain management which both have huge potentials for growth." 

 

Contacts:

 

OKYO Pharma Limited                         Willy Simon                     +44 (0)20 7495 2379

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Stockdale Securities Limited (Broker)    Antonio Bossi                 +44 (0)20 7601 6100

                                                           Andy Crossley 

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About OKYO

 

OKYO Pharma Limited (LSE: OKYO) is a life sciences and biotechnology company admitted to listing on the standard segment of the Official List of the UK Financial Conduct Authority and to trading on the Main Market for listed securities of the London Stock Exchange plc.

 

For further information, please visit the Company’s website at www.okyopharma.com

 

About dry eye disease

 

Dry eye is a multifactorial disease caused by a chronic lack of sufficient lubrication and moisture on the surface of the eye and is reaching epidemic proportions. Symptoms of dry eye include constant discomfort and irritation accompanied by inflammation of ocular surface, visual impairment, and potential damage to ocular surface. Estimated prevalence of dry eye, which is frequently under-recognised, ranges from about 5% to 35% in different age groups, the most common being in adults over the age of 50. Thus, dry eye syndrome is seen as a major burden in public healthcare.

 

 

About non-opioid analgesics

 

Opioid therapy is the most common therapy in the management of acute and chronic pain. However, opioid medications carry a risk of abuse and addiction by either the patient or health professional. Drug overdoses have become a leading cause of death in Americans under 50, with a majority of those deaths from opioids use. Therefore, consideration of non-opioid strategies for pain management is highly beneficial to patients. Despite their disadvantages, opioids are still the most prescribed drug for chronic pain management. The use of non-opioid analgesics may cut down the use of opioid.

 

About Tufts University

 

Tufts Medical Center at Tufts University, Boston, Massachusetts is home to some of the leading clinicians, educators, and researchers from around the world and renowned for testing and treatment of all types of eye diseases, including ocular pain, dry eye disease, as well as pain management using non-opioid analgesics.