Rockville, Md.– (PR NEWS WIRE) —March 25, 2014 — VLP Therapeutics, Inc. (“VLP”), a Rockville-based biotechnology company focusing on the research and development of next generation antibody agents and therapeutic as well as preventive vaccines based upon a novel and proprietary i-αVLP technology (which stands for “inserted alpha virus like particle”), today announced that Ryuji Ueno, M.D., Ph.D., Ph.D., Co-Founder and former Chair, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Scientific Officer of Sucampo Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: SCMP) (“Sucampo”) will join VLP as Chair and Chief Medical Officer, effective today.
“I am very excited with the addition of Dr. Ueno to our team. Dr. Ueno brings tremendous expertise in pharmaceutical discovery, research and development as well as growing and managing a biotechnology company from its start-up to a publicly listed stage. Dr. Ueno’s proven track record in successfully bringing two novel products to the market based upon his own prostone platform technology and growing Sucampo as a publicly traded global pharmaceutical company will provide immediate value and credential to VLP as we focus on the growth of our business and try to introduce innovative and breakthrough treatments to address global unmet medical needs” said Dr. Wataru Akahata, Ph.D., Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of VLP. “I established VLP in order to create a revolutionary vaccine therapy that provides the greater social impact and is accessible by the patients globally who are underserved by or cannot access the current treatments. With the expertise of Dr. Ueno, I believe we can now facilitate the research and development of our compounds to initiate the clinical development to create new medication for a number of patients with unmet medical need” continued Dr. Akahata.
Dr. Ryuji Ueno is an internationally recognized expert in pharmacology, physiology and biochemistry of prostones – naturally occurring (endogenous) fatty acids – and their related compounds. After 10 years of biomedical research, Dr. Ueno, together with Dr. Sachiko Kuno, co-founded two pharmaceutical companies – R-Tech Ueno, Ltd. in Japan and Sucampo in the U.S., both of which are now publicly traded companies, and market prostone-based drugs discovered by Dr. Ueno. Rescula® Eye Drops, an anti-glaucoma treatment, was commercialized in Japan in 1994 and have been sold in more than 45 countries, including the United States. AMITIZA® (lubiprostone) was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatments of chronic idiopathic constipation in adults, irritable bowel syndrome with constipation and opioid-induced constipation in adults with chronic non-cancer pain in 2006, 2008 and 2013 respectively, and also received regulatory approval in Switzerland, United Kingdom and Japan. Dr. Ueno has authored more than 100 articles in notable scientific journals and his work has led to more than 1,000 patents and patent applications worldwide.
Dr. Ueno obtained his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees in medicinal chemistry from Keio University (Japan), and earned a second Ph.D. in pharmacology from Osaka University (Japan). He spent his academic career at Columbia University (USA), Kyoto University (Japan) and Osaka University (Japan). He is a recipient of numerous awards including; Foundation for Fighting Blindness Visionary Award (2014), Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for the Greater Washington Area in the Life Sciences (2007) and Japan Innovator Award (2006), and serves as Honorary Member of American Gastroenterological Association.
About i-αVLP (or inserted-alpha virus like particle) Platform Technology
Today, molecular targeted therapy, using monoclonal antibodies, has been established as effective therapy to treat various diseases, such as cancer, infectious and autoimmune diseases. However, clinicians continue to seek additional monoclonal antibodies as molecular targeted therapy that are efficacious. Additionally, monoclonal antibody used as effective immunotherapy is still very limited. Despite such needs, because of the complexity of creating monoclonal antibodies and difficulty in finding an appropriate target, a few new agents are coming to the clinic.
Virus like particles (VLPs) are multiprotein structures that mimic the organization and conformation of authentic native viruses without the genomic DNA or RNA of native viruses. These particles, when presented to the immune system, evoke effective immune responses without triggering the side effects associated with the native virus. Our novel, proprietary i-αVLP technology was created utilizing alphavirus VLPs. Utilizing this α-VLP technology and leveraging its potency, VLP Therapeutics successfully developed a new compound by inserting a target antigen into the specific area of αVLPs (thus, “inserted” or i-αVLP). Our method to create i-αVLP is superior to and more efficient than creating traditional monoclonal antibodies because of the following reasons:
i) High yield of antibodies against inserted antigens;
ii) Selectivity of domain/epitope of antigens; and
iii) Structural antigen design to keep antigen structural conformation.
These advantages are a result of several unique characteristics associated with i-αVLP, which includes repetitive and highly symmetric array, large particle size, availability of other scaffold αVLP to boost the same target antigen, and novel and proprietary method developed and already established by us to insert specific antigen into a specific section of αVLP.
Because we already established a method to insert various antigens into our αVLP, we can facilitate the screening of antigens and select the most promising agents for further development. If successful, this would provide wider and innovative treatment options for the clinicians as well as for the patients. Furthermore, because of its potency, it allows the production of antigens against historically difficult to target viruses or proteins.
Additionally, our i-αVLP has a potential to be developed as therapeutic or preventive vaccines. We are now actively developing Malaria vaccine based on i-αVLP technology. We are also exploring the development of cancer vaccines utilizing i-αVLP technology.
About VLP Therapeutics
VLP was established in 2012 based upon novel, proprietary i-αVLP technology discovered by its co-founder Dr. Akahata, with a mission to develop innovative medical treatment which transforms traditional targeted antibody and vaccine therapies to address global unmet medical needs and to combat the 21st century global public health problems. Prior to establishing VLP, Dr. Akahata was a senior researcher at the Vaccine Research Center, National Institutes of Health (“NIH”). He successfully created the world’s first virus like particle for alphavirus in 2010 and has over 10 years’ experience in vaccine development against emerging infectious diseases such as HIV, alphaviruses and flaviviruses. VLP is currently developing next generation of targeted antibody agents as well as preventative and therapeutic vaccines based upon i-αVLP technology to treat cancer, infectious diseases and auto-immune diseases.
For more information, please visit www.vlptherapeutics.com.