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Ocean Biomedical focuses its malaria program to address chronic malaria crisis in sub-Saharan Africa

The company has received multiple patents in the US and internationally for novel vaccine candidate and "whole new class" of malaria therapeutics

Biopharma company Ocean Biomedical, Inc. (NASDAQ: OCEA) on Tuesday said it is focusing its multi-pronged malaria program to address the chronic malaria crisis in sub-Saharan Africa while recognizing newly emerging global malaria challenges. Studies have shown that the company’s mRNA-based vaccine candidate generates over 90% killing of malaria parasites in non-human primates, demonstrating broad potential for its program to address global and emerging US malaria challenges.

mRNA-based Vaccine

Ocean Biomedical is a biopharmaceutical company that partners with scientists, research universities, and medical centers for developing and commercializing their discoveries. The company is working on a multivalent mRNA-based malaria vaccine with the potential to target several stages in the malaria cycle. The research is being conducted based on discoveries by the company’s scientific co-founder Dr. Jonathan Kurtis.

Dr. Chirinjeev Kathuria, Ocean Biomedical’s chairman and co-founder, said, “As the current drugs begin to fade, we are pleased to have a small molecule drug candidate that could offer a treatment option for severe malaria patients and a monoclonal antibody that would be well-suited to use for malaria prophylaxis for travelers, military deployments, and short-term exposure areas.”

“Inducing parasite cell death via targeting PfGARP is a novel approach that has potential to launch a whole new class of anti-malarial interventions, including mRNA-based vaccines, small molecule drugs, and our current monoclonal antibody. Our monoclonal antibody and small molecule drug comes at a critical time because malaria parasites are developing resistance to current frontline therapeutics, and the currently approved vaccine offers only very limited protection,” said Dr. Kurtis.

New Approach

Ocean Biomedical has discovered a new therapeutic approach with the potential to launch a whole new class of antimalarials. Promising results from the malaria program include an mRNA-based vaccine that generates >90% killing of malaria parasites in non-human primates; a monoclonal antibody that kills 94%-99% of malaria parasites in culture; and a small molecule drug that kills 100% of parasites at low nanomolar concentrations. The company holds multiple US and global patents for both the vaccine and therapeutic approaches.

“Like all of Ocean Biomedical’s programs, this malaria treatment has the potential to meet large, unmet medical needs that can benefit our shareholders, and a large population globally,” commented Suren Ajjarapu, one of Ocean Biomedical’s directors.

“With the rising resistance to Artemisinin-based drugs in sub-Saharan Africa, it is imperative that we get new malaria therapeutics into the drug development pipeline. We are pleased to be working on multiple solutions to this ongoing global health crisis, and to have the opportunity to share it with some of the nation’s top malaria researchers,” said Ocean Biomedical’s CEO Elizabeth Ng.

New Patent

Recently, Dr. Kurtis received a new patent for his malaria vaccine discoveries and breakthrough therapeutic approach. It extends patent protection for Dr. Kurtis’ novel discoveries that have defined the important roles of PfGARP and PfCDPK-5 in controlling the parasite’s ability to aggressively multiply within its human host.

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