LeukoMed Inc. is moving ahead with development of two drugs based on recently patented technology it has licensed from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

LeukoMed says European Patent No. 0767793, entitled “N-Substituted-(Dihydroxyboryl) Alkyl Purine, Indole and Pyrimidine Derivatives, Useful as Inhibitors of Inflammatory Cytokines,” was granted on Sept. 18. Cytokines are any of several regulatory proteins that are released by cells of the immune system and act as intercellular mediators in the generation of an immune response.

Currently, LeukoMed is developing two lead drug candidates, LMP-160 and LMP 420, which are based on technology disclosed in this patent. Both of these compounds are inhibitors of the biosynthesis of “Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha” (TNF-Alpha), which is a cytokine that has been demonstrated to play a role in the development of inflammation. It is expected to be useful for the treatment of a number of diseases, including arthritis, Crohn’s disease, psoriasis and asthma.

In addition, LMP-420, which LeukoMed says is its most potent lead compound, has been demonstrated to inhibit both HIV and tuberculosis (TB) in cultured human cells, and thus may be useful to existing therapies for AIDS and TB. TNF-Alpha has been suggested to play a role in the development of insulin resistance in diabetes associated with obesity, and thus LeukoMed the compounds may have a role in this disease indication as well.

LeukoMed’s development program for these candidates is being conducted in collaboration with a number of academic investigators, such as UNC-Chapel Hill, the company says. These compounds were identified using a novel, cell-based screening process based on human immune cells and are among the most potent and selective inhibitors of TNF-Alpha that have been reported to date, LeukoMed says.

Both LMP-160 and LMP-420 are expected to be available in oral, inhaled and topical formulations. LMP-420 is expected to enter clinical trials within the next 18 months, LeukoMed says, and it is currently in discussion with several pharmaceutical companies regarding the development and marketing rights for LMP-160 and LMP-420 in the United States and Europe.

LeukoMed, founded in 2000, is a biopharmaceutical company based in Research Triangle Park that is engaged in the research, development and commercialization of medicines for the inflammatory disorders in order to provide more effective and less costly treatments.

LeukoMed Inc.: www.leukomed.com