Our Scientific Programs

THERAPEUTIC FOCUS

OKYO Pharma focuses on diseases of high unmet need, where large market potential exists for effective therapeutics. Our goal is to develop first-in-class drug candidates that prevent disease, and we are seeking to achieve this through our collaboration with retained clinicians with a view to generating incremental value for our shareholders. Our approach is to use the scientific knowledge that is based on molecular pathways involved in disease pathogenesis and target the key fundamental mechanisms, which are the root cause of the disease progression.

We have novel bio-therapeutics in pre-clinical development for the treatment of dry-eye disease and chronic pain management. The current focus is to seek to treat dry-eye disease with Chemerin, a naturally occurring peptide (or a fragment or analog thereof), and manage chronic pain with BAM8, a non-opioid analgesic, utilising oral and nasal formulations.

 

Science

GPCR Signaling

 

Peptide

 

R&D PIPELINE

The company has a pipeline of assets that includes preclinical stage development of therapeutic candidates in both dry eye and chronic pain management using proprietary delivery technologies. 

We have acquired Chem-9 for dry eye and Bam-8, a unique asset for treatment of chronic pain and inflammatory diseases.

 

Dry Eye - Overview

Dry eye is a multifactorial disease caused by lack of lubrication and moisture on the surface of the eye and is reaching epidemic proportions. Prevalence of dry eye can be as high as 40% of the world population, with women representing approximately two-thirds of those affected. Dry eye syndrome represents a major economic burden in public healthcare accounting to total annual cost for the management of disease including lost productivity due to symptoms to US economy more than $50 billion. Symptoms of dry include constant discomfort and irritation accompanied by inflammation of ocular surface, visual impairment and potential damage to ocular surface. The evidence form more than 40 years of scientific literature suggests inflammation as the most common underlying cause of the disease. Therefore, breaking the cycle of inflammation is crucial in improving symptoms.

 

Dry Eye - Approach

Although inflammation is the most common cause in dry eye syndrome development, there is only one approved drug for dry eye that targets inflammation. Our therapeutic approach is to develop first-in-class drug candidates that target inflammatory pathways. We recently acquired a license from On Target Therapeutics LLC and a sub-license from Tufts Medical Center of the rights to exploit all of the intellectual property relating to a novel class of soluble membrane-anchored Chemerin receptor agonists. Using membrane-tethered ligand technology, a 9-amino acid-tethered Chemerin (Chem-9) fragment was developed which showed higher potency than the full-length Chemerin (136 amino acids). When tested in vivo, Chem-9 decreased dry eye symptoms in mice.

 

Neuropathic Ocular Pain - Overview

The symptoms that frequently accompany dry eye disease include

“burning, tenderness, aching and soreness. These symptoms could be due to activation of nociceptors in response to damage to ocular surface (nociceptive pain) or actual damage to the somatosensory nervous system due to the underlying pathogenesis of the dry eye disease (neuropathic pain). Ongoing damage to corneal nerves in dry eye could alter neuronal function resulting in to abnormal corneal nerve morphology and sensitivity. Dry eye patients suffer from symptoms that are consistent with neuropathic pain, including wind and temperature induced pain and increased sensitivity to light or photophobia.

 

Neuropathic Ocular Pain - Approach

Lipidated analog of Okyo’s lead compound Chem-9 and Bam-8 showed promising results in an Experimental Model of Neuropathic Pain by significantly attenuating neuropathic pain in mice. Our current focus is to further improve the potency of these bio-therapeutics and develop novel formulations and delivery methods for the treatment of neuropathic ocular pain.

 

Chronic Pain Management - Overview

Chronic pain is the most widespread complaint affecting the adult population. Worldwide, 5–10% of general population suffer from long term neuropathic pain. 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 the leading cause of death of Americans under 50, with almost two-thirds of those deaths from opioids use. The economic impact of pain is more than $100 billion per year and this burden is expected to rise due to increase in life expectancy and increase in age-related diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Therefore, consideration of non-opioid strategies for pain management is highly beneficial to patients. The use of non-opioid analgesics may cut down the use of opioids necessary to control pain.

 

Chronic Pain Management - Approach

Our current focus is to develop first-in-class of drug candidates as non-opioid analgesics for pain management to overcome the current global opioid addiction epidemic. We recently acquired lapidated cyclized Bam-8, a promising candidate for the treatment of neuropathic and inflammatory pain from Tuffs University. Our goal is to further develop this peptide for long term chronic pain that will provide an alternative to opioid or cannabinoid based therapy without side effects and abuse potential associated with the current therapy.