iCo-008 (also known as Bertilimumab or CAT-213) is a human immunoglobulin monoclonal antibody targeting eotaxin-1, a member of the chemokine family of proteins, that acts as messenger molecules between the cells of the immune system.
Eotaxin-1 is released by various cells, including eosinophils, epithelial cells, fibroblasts, endothelial cells, T-lymphocytes, monocytes and macrophages. During an allergic response the levels of eotaxin-1 are elevated. This attracts eosinophils, a type of white blood cell, into tissues where they can degranulate causing tissue damage that occurs in a variety of allergic disorders.
This condition, known as eosinophilia, can occur in a number of disorders, such as allergic ocular disease of conjunctiva and cornea (conjunctivitis and keratoconjunctivitis), asthma, allergic rhinitis, atopic dermatitis, and other inflammatory disorders, such as inflammatory bowel disease and Crohn’s disease. Blocking eotaxin-1 was shown to be effective in inhibiting early phase mast cell activation as well as late phase eosinophilia. This broad spectrum mechanism of action is unique and differentiates iCo-008 from other available agents.
iCo plans to initiate a Phase II clinical trial in patients with vernal keratoconjunctivitis (VKC). This disorder may pose a threat to vision. Corneal involvement may manifest with small defects on the corneal surface or ulceration. Corneal epithelial and stromal defects and scarring associated with vision decrease may follow.
Recent published scientific literature ( e.g. Nature: Takeda et al, 2009: CCR3 is a Target for Age-related Macular Degeneration Diagnosis and Therapy) has also indicated that iCo-008 may have utility to potentially treat Wet Age Related Macular Degeneration (“wAMD”). Ico is currently planning exploratory studies for iCo-008 in wAMD.
In 2010, iCo granted Immune Pharmaceuticals an option to an exclusive license for the development and commercialization rights to the systemic uses of iCo-008. iCo retained worldwide exclusive rights to all ocular applications of iCo-008.
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