Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, Shanghai RAAS Partner on Hemophilia Therapy

Catarina Silva, MSc avatar

by Catarina Silva, MSc |

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OMRF, Shanghai RAAS partnership

The Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation (OMRF) and Shanghai RAAS Blood Products are working together on the development of new hemophilia and traumatic bleeding therapies.

This is the first time OMRF has collaborated with a Chinese blood products manufacturer.

In 2017, Shanghai RAAS was 25th on Forbes’ “Growth Champions” list and fourth on its “Most Innovative Companies” list.

Under the licensing agreement, Shanghai RAAS has exclusive rights to create and sell hemophilia and bleeding drugs using a method developed at OMRF. The technology, developed by the foundation’s  Charles Esmon, PhD, uses a Y-shaped antibody produced by the immune system in response to molecular invaders that may cause harm or infection.

Esmon is an adjunct professor in the departments of biochemistry and molecular biology and pathology at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. He also holds the Lloyd Noble Chair in Cardiovascular Research at OMRF and is a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

Esmon’s research work has resulted in two U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved therapies: one for a systemic clotting disorder known as purpura fulminans, and the other for severe sepsis, a generalized blood infection.

The Esmon lab is interested in studying the mechanisms that control the process of blood clotting and its link to inflammation.

Esmon and colleagues have developed an antibody that selectively binds and partially inhibits the activated protein C (APC), a regulator of the coagulation molecular cascade. APC acts as a natural blood thinner.

With Esmon’s technology, scientists plan to develop a drug that stops bleeding without disrupting APC’s anti-inflammatory and cell-protective effects.

“Lifelong intravenous infusion of coagulation factors 2-3 times per week is the current standard treatment for hemophilia, which is a big discomfort for patients,” Shanghai RAAS Deputy General Manager Jun Xu said in a news release.

“An antibody against anticoagulant functions of APC delivered by subcutaneous injection once every two weeks would provide a convenient alternative for patients that reduces time and healthcare costs. This would significantly improve their quality of life,” Xu added.

Although the exact amount of Americans living hemophilia are unknown, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate it to be about 20,000 people living in the U.S.

“Developing new treatments for hemophilia and traumatic bleeding would help fill significant, unmet needs for patients,” said Manu Nair, OMRF vice president of technology ventures.