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Ocean Biomedical presents novel malaria therapeutic discoveries at NIH Laboratory of Malaria Vaccinology and Immunology

Developments shared at the meeting show how Dr. Kurtis’ team used a novel approach to capitalize on PfGARP’s ability to kill parasites

Ocean Biomedical, Inc. (NASDAQ: OCEA) is a biopharma company that works with research universities and medical centers for developing and commercializing their discoveries for medical treatments. The company on Tuesday said its scientific cofounder Dr. Jonathan Kurtis presented details of its novel malaria treatment approach to scientists at the National Institute of Health’s (NIH) Laboratory of Malaria Vaccinology and Immunology in Bethesda, MD, during a recent meeting.

An Effective Vaccine Target

The groundbreaking discovery is that the parasite protein PfGARP is potentially a highly effective vaccine target to treat malaria. Building on that, Dr. Kurtis presented data demonstrating that engagement of PfGARP is critical for regulating parasite density within the human host as it triggers the malaria parasite to kill itself. Developments shared at the meeting show how Dr. Kurtis’ team used a novel approach to capitalize on PfGARP’s ability to kill parasites, targeting it for potential drug development.

“We desperately need new drugs for severe malaria. We’re hopeful that this might lead to a whole new class of anti-malarial drugs. It was a privilege to have the opportunity to share this work with colleagues at NIH, especially Drs. Patrick Duffy and Michal Fried who have helped advance our work at every stage,” said Dr. Kurtis.

(Source: Ocean Biomedical, Inc.)

Earlier, Dr. Jack Elias, the company’s other scientific co-founder and Dean Emeritus of Medicine and Biological Sciences at Brown University, had shared details of his team’s discoveries of the role that glycoprotein CHI3L1 has in regulating primary and metastatic lung cancer, glioblastoma multiforme, and broader oncogenic pathways. In his talk, Dr. Kurtis explained his unique Whole Proteome Differential Screening technique used to contrast the antibody repertoires of malaria-resistant children versus malaria-susceptible children. This technique has led to the discovery of three key targets that are being formulated into a highly effective malaria vaccine candidate being advanced by Dr. Kurtis and Ocean Biomedical.


Data generated by Dr. Kurtis’ lab has demonstrated that the family of small molecule candidates in development by his team are highly specific for PfGARP binding; are non-toxic in multiple in vitro and in vivo systems; have excellent pharmacokinetic properties; and rapidly clear parasitemia in animal models. The discovery has allowed the company to begin simultaneously pursuing the development of a novel malaria vaccine, and novel malaria therapeutics.

Fundamental Research Corp. initiates coverage of Ocean Biomedical (OCEA) with “Buy” recommendation

“This malaria vaccine discovery, along with the prior discovery of bispecific antibodies and immune checkpoint inhibitors that kill Glioblastoma cells and melanoma cells, will save thousands of lives and lead to long-term shareholder value growth. We look forward to bringing these malaria vaccine candidates to the people of Asia and Africa and to the possibility of preventing the leading cause of childhood deaths globally,” said Dr. Chirinjeev Kathuria, chairman and co-founder of Ocean Biomedical.

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