Eiger BioPharmaceuticals’ PAH Therapy Bestatin™ (Ubenimex) Receives Notice of Allowance for U.S. Patent

Patrícia Silva, PhD avatar

by Patrícia Silva, PhD |

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Eiger BioPharmaceuticals, Inc. recently announced in a press release that a Notice of Allowance from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has been issued for the U.S. patent application 13/829,321, titled “Treatment of Pulmonary Hypertension with Leukotriene Inhibitors” covering Bestatin™ (ubenimex), a leukotriene A4hydrolase (LTA4H) inhibitor, for treating Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH).

Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a lung disease caused by the stiffening of the pulmonary arteries. When the pulmonary arteries are obstructed, blood has difficulty circulating from the heart to the lungs, forcing the heart to make an extra effort to pump the blood. This process may lead to an enlargement and weakening of the heart, and ultimately right heart failure.

Eiger BioPharmaceuticals is a clinical-stage biopharma company focused on marketing products for the treatment of orphan diseases (an ‘orphan disease’ is a term used to refer to a rare disease). Eiger has an exclusive license with Stanford to develop the technology targeting the effects of LTB4 to modulate inflammation and immune response in the lung, meant to provide potential therapeutic approaches for the treatment of PAH.

The technology was first developed in Mark Nicolls’ laboratory, Chief of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Stanford University. Eiger BioPharma established a license agreement with Nippon Kayaku Co., Ltd, (from Tokyo, Japan) to develop Bestatin™ (ubenimex) for PAH, one of the inflammatory diseases involving LTB4. With the Notice of Allowance now concluded, after careful examination of the patent application, the issuance of a U.S. patent with a term after 2034 is now expected.

“This newly allowed patent covering Bestatin™ (ubenimex) is a valuable addition to Eiger BioPharmaceuticals’ intellectual property portfolio,” noted David Cory, President and Chief Executive Officer of Eiger BioPharmaceuticals.  “Recently published results of studies conducted at Stanford University suggest that elevated LTB4 may play a role in the inflammatory component of PAH disease.”

Bestatin™ (ubenimex) is a well-characterized, oral, small-molecule, dual-inhibitor of aminopeptidase and leukotriene A4 hydrolase (LTA4H), the enzyme responsible for catalyzing the committed step in the formation of the proinflammatory mediator, LTB4. Previous news regarding Bestatin™ (ubenimex) included the announcement of the company’s experimental PAH therapy being tested in a new clinical trial, and Eiger’s PAH Drug being granted Orphan Drug status by the FDA.”