Ohr Pharmaceutical Inc. shuts sustained release tech lab

By Gareth Macdonald

- Last updated on GMT

Ohr Pharmaceutical Inc. R&D lab in San Diego (source Google maps)
Ohr Pharmaceutical Inc. R&D lab in San Diego (source Google maps)

Related tags Macular degeneration U.s. securities and exchange commission

Ohr Pharmaceutical Inc. has halted activities at the laboratory in San Diego, California where research on its sustained release delivery technology was carried out.

The move – announced in a US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing​ – will result in immediate job losses according to Ohr.

"The suspension of preclinical activities at the lab facility will result in a reduction in workforce of approximately 8 positions at the lab facility, which reduction will occur immediately​."

The SKS sustained release technology uses customizable hydrogel microparticles to deliver sensitive APIs and large molecule. The firm claims the particles have higher loading capacities than other delivery technologies. 

Trial pause

The closure comes days after Ohr reported a loss of $7m (€6.6m) for its fiscal first quarter ended December 31, 2016. The loss is up from the $6.1m deficit it posted in the equivalent period in fiscal 2016.

The firm attibuted the higher loss to a hike in operating expenses.

Along with the increased loss, Ohr reported it had paused enrollment in a Phase III trial​ of its lead candidate Squalamine (squalamine) lactate ophthalmic solution, 0.2%.

The drug, which uses the SKS technology, is being developed as a treatment for neovascular age-related macular degeneration (wet AMD).

Clinical development change

CEO Jason Slakter said: "We plan to continue the study for currently enrolled patients to evaluate the efficacy of Squalamine combination therapy.

This approach is intended to provide prospective efficacy data before year end 2017 to enable us to potentially confirm the visual acuity benefits observed in the patient population we identified as the most likely to benefit from Squalamine combination therapy.

He added that: "Given the recent study readouts from other combination therapy agents and the reaction to these results, we feel that a change in our clinical development program is warranted​."

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