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Ocean Biomedical co-founder Jake Kurtis gets new patent for novel malaria vaccine target

The patent will add third potential parasite target PfCDPK-5 to the company’s malaria vaccine program, building on prior research on PfGARP and PfSEA

Ocean Biomedical, Inc. (NASDAQ: OCEA) on Tuesday said its scientific co-founder Dr. Jonathan Kurtis received a new patent for his discovery related to malaria. The patent award could be a milestone in the company’s malaria vaccine program. The company is a medical research innovation incubator that partners with inventors, universities, and research institutions to commercialize their discoveries for medical treatments.

Novel Approach

Jonathan’s studies showed that a third-parasite target called PfCDPK-5 can potentially be used to interdict the parasite at multiple stages in the malaria cycle. Antibodies to PfCDPK-5 have been found to be effective in preventing merozoites from escaping infected red blood cells and thus reduce parasite multiplication in the bloodstream.

His earlier discoveries had defined the important roles played by parasite antigen PfGARP and PfSEA in controlling the malaria parasite’s ability to replicate and grow within its human host. PfGARP, or plasmodium falciparum glutamic-acid-rich protein, is identified as a target of human antibodies that kill up to 100% of parasites in vitro by inducing apoptosis or parasite-programmed cell death.

Ocean Biomedical, Inc. (OCEA) Research Summary

Commenting on the patent, Ocean Biomedical’s CEO Elizabeth Ng said, “The progress we have been able to make thus far in advancing novel targets is a testament to Ocean Biomedical’s innovative model and deep partnership with premier research institutions. We are hopeful that Dr. Kurtis’ discoveries will lead to a powerful vaccine that can save hundreds of thousands of lives, and we are proud to help advance this important work.”

The discoveries assume significance against the backdrop of the emergence of high-grade resistance to artemisinin-based drugs, which are widely used for the treatment of malaria worldwide, and the situation calls for the development of novel classes of antimalarials.


The therapeutic programs of Ocean Biomedical are focused on oncology, fibrosis, and malaria treatment. The company has a diversified pipeline with multiple formulations at various stages of development. In oncology, it is targeting non-small cell lung cancer and glioblastoma multiforme. Studies have revealed that antibodies developed by the company against cancer-causing CHI3L1 significantly reduce tumors.

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It has also been found that the company’s OCF-203 reduces fibrosis by preventing Chit1, which could play a key role in the research being conducted for finding treatments for Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and Hermansky-Pudlak Syndrome.

Ocean Biomedical made its stock market debut on February 15, 2023, through a reverse merger of special purpose acquisition company Aesther Healthcare Acquisition Corp. The stock has started trading on the Nasdaq stock exchange under the ticker symbol OCEA.

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