Specifically, the two patents have been granted claims for the substance sevuparin and a manufacturing method for producing the drug (U.S. Patent 9480701) and for its use in treating sickle cell disease (U.S. Patent 9480702).
The two patents provide key intellectual property protection in the U.S. until at least December 2032.
Karolinska Development is a Sweden-based medical innovation investment company, and Modus Therapeutics is one of Karolinska’s portfolio of 10 companies. Modus is a drug development company that’s working on therapies to restore impaired blood flow and oxygen transport in rare diseases.
The potential benefits of sevuparin for sickle cell disease were documented in an article titled “Sevuparin Reduces Adhesion Of Both Sickle Red Cells and Leukocytes To Endothelial Cells In Vitro and Inhibits Vaso-Occlusion In Vivo,” published in the journal Blood.
Sevuparin was found to reduce adhesion of both sickle red cells and a specific type of white blood cells to endothelial cells, which line the interior of blood vessels, in vitro and to inhibit vaso-occlusion in vivo, the hallmark of sickle cell disease.
Sickle cell disease patients often suffer from repeated painful episodes called vaso-occlusive crises (VOC), which lead to a loss of vital organ function and often a significantly reduced life span.
The team of researchers theorized that sevuparin would show activity in inhibiting the selectin-dependent adhesion of red cells and leukocytes seen in the context of sickle cell disease, with the potential to decrease vaso-occlusion at a low level of anti-coagulation.
Sevuparin, the company’s lead drug candidate, is a new chemically modified heparin with low anticoagulant activity. It’s currently being evaluated in a Phase 2 clinical trial in sickle cell disease (NCT02515838).
Modus is currently enrolling patients in Europe and the Middle East for this multi-center randomized study. The proof-of-concept trial is designed to demonstrate reduced time to resolution of VOCs in sickle cell disease patients.
“The grant of these two U.S. patents is a major milestone for Modus Therapeutics as they provide important IP protection for sevuparin and its use for SCD. The U.S. has an estimated 100,000 SCD patients, and therefore represents a significant opportunity for sevuparin,” Modus CEO Christina Herder said in a press release.
“This is a positive development for Modus Therapeutics, providing a strong foundation for the development and future commercialization of sevuparin in the U.S.,” added Viktor Drvota, Karolinska Development’s chief investment officer.