SAN DIEGO, Dec. 15, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Amira Pharmaceuticals, Inc. announced today that it has successfully identified a novel pre-clinical candidate for its newest lysophosphatidic acid (LPA)-related program, autotaxin. Autotaxin is an enzyme upstream from LPA receptors and has been implicated in a number of diseases including rheumatoid arthritis, glioblastoma, lung, breast, ovarian and thyroid cancers.
"We are pleased to announce that we have identified an orally bioavailable and highly selective autotaxin inhibitor," said Peppi Prasit, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer. "Previous published data implicates autotaxin as a potent stimulator of tumor cell motility. Cells over expressing autotaxin result in amplified tumorigenesis and metastatic potential. These observations when combined with our recent pre-clinical experiments, which demonstrated that an autotaxin-specific inhibitor can successfully inhibit tumor metastases, are quite exciting."
Bob Baltera, Chief Executive Officer added, "As we have stated before, we are committed to exploring the science and medicine related to the LPA pathway. We believe there are numerous potential drug targets in this pathway, and our autotaxin inhibitor is the latest in our portfolio of LPA-related drug targets, which also includes our LPA1 receptor antagonist AM152 which is currently in phase 1 clinical trials. While a great deal of work remains in advancing the autotaxin program to the clinic, we look forward to communicating our progress in 2011."
Founded in 2005 and headquartered in San Diego, Amira Pharmaceuticals is a small molecule pharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of new drugs to treat inflammatory disease. Our discovery team is building on unparalleled insights into bioactive lipid pathways and complex signaling processes controlling many conditions including asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary