Ocean Biomedical (NASDAQ: OCEA) on World Malaria Day Announces Sharing of New Malaria Vaccine Paradigm at PATH Malaria Research Retreat in Washington, DC, by Scientific Co-founder Dr. Jonathan Kurtis

April 25, 2023 at 8:01 AM EDT

Providence, RI, April 25, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Ocean Biomedical, Inc. (NASDAQ: OCEA), a biopharma company working to accelerate the development of compelling assets from leading research universities and medical centers, announced today that its Scientific Co-founder, Jonathan Kurtis, MD, PhD, presented details of the Company’s novel malaria vaccine and treatment approach to malaria research scientists at PATH Malaria’s annual retreat in Washington, DC.

Dr. Kurtis shared details of Ocean Biomedical’s unique anti-malaria vaccine that targets three critical ‘blood stage’ events: entry into the red blood cell (via recently discovered PfXXX), intracellular development (via PfGARP), and escape of parasites from the red blood cells (via PfSEA-1). By targeting each of the three principle events in the parasite’s blood stage lifecycle, Ocean Biomedical believes this powerful approach will result in a highly effective and novel malaria vaccine. The company is also working to develop the PfGARP component as a therapeutic target for a whole new class of anti-malarial drugs.

Dr. Kurtis presented a compelling case to PATH that the blood stage of the malarial cycle - a phase that has received scant attention and funding during the two decade push to find a vaccine for malaria - is the most promising target for a maximally effective vaccine.

In addition to his vaccine development work, Dr. Kurtis presented new data on both the biologic role of PfGARP within the parasite as well as results from efforts to discover small molecule drugs which target PfGARP. He detailed groundbreaking data demonstrating that PfGARP is critical for regulating parasite density and thus results in increased reproductive fitness of the parasite. In addition, Dr. Kurtis presented data on a family of small molecule drugs that are highly specific for PfGARP binding, are non-toxic in multiple in vitro and in vivo systems, have excellent pharmacokinetic properties, and rapidly kill P. falciparum parasites in animal models. This discovery has allowed Ocean Biomedical to begin simultaneously pursuing the development of a novel malaria vaccine, and novel malaria therapeutics.

Global Need

Malaria is still the greatest single-agent killer of children on the planet, killing approximately 627,000 individuals in 2022. Artemisinin-based drug therapy remains the mainstay of treatment, but the spread of parasites resistant to this family of compounds threatens recent progress achieved by antimalarial campaigns and underscores the urgent need to identify new anti-malarial drugs. In a 2022 report, the World Health Organization warned of a surge in mosquito-borne diseases due to global warming, which is increasing vector survival and biting rates.

Ocean Biomedical’s efforts to develop a new antimalarial vaccine and therapeutic approach come at a time when malaria deaths have been rising again, and hospitalizations for severe malaria have been increasing dramatically in sub-Saharan Africa. Current inaugural malaria vaccines have shown efficacy in infants of less than 11%, after 3 doses. Resistance to artemisinin malaria treatments has spread throughout SE Asia and is expanding at an alarming rate in sub-Saharan Africa. And there is no class of anti-malarial drug currently reserved for severe malaria. Dr. Kurtis argued strongly that without a new treatment and prevention paradigm, we could soon lose much of the ground we have gained in the battle against malaria.

Leadership Comments

“The world desperately needs new drugs for severe malaria, and a highly effective malaria vaccine,” said Dr. Kurtis, who is also a member of Ocean Biomedical’s board of directors and Chair of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University. “We’re hopeful that our approach might lead to a revolutionary vaccine and a whole new class of anti-malarial drugs. It was a privilege to have the opportunity to share this work with colleagues at PATH.”

“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,” commented Dr. Chirinjeev Kathuria, Chairman and co-founder.

“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,” said Elizabeth Ng, Ocean Biomedical’s CEO. “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.”

Suren Ajjarapu, an Ocean Biomedical Director, commented, “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.”

“For decade after decade economic opportunity in sub-Saharan Africa has been crippled by the relentless presence of malaria, which kills far too many children and permanently impacts far too many of those who survive,” said Jerome Ringo, an Ocean Biomedical Director and Goodwill Ambassador to the Pan-African Parliament. “I join the World Health Organization 2023 in saying, it is time for ZERO Malaria.”

About Ocean Biomedical

Ocean Biomedical, Inc. (“Ocean Biomedical” or the “Company”) is a Providence, Rhode Island-based biopharma company with an innovative business model that accelerates the development and commercialization of scientifically compelling assets from research universities and medical centers. Ocean Biomedical deploys the funding and expertise to move new therapeutic candidates efficiently from the laboratory to the clinic, to the world. Ocean Biomedical is currently developing five promising discoveries that have the potential to achieve life-changing outcomes in lung cancer, brain cancer, pulmonary fibrosis, and the prevention and treatment of malaria. The Ocean Biomedical team is working on solving some of the world’s toughest problems, for the people who need it most.

To learn more, visit www.oceanbiomedical.com.

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Any discoveries announced by the Company are based solely on laboratory and animal studies. Ocean Biomedical has not conducted any studies that show similar efficacy or safety in humans. There can be no assurances that any treatment tested by the Company will prove safe or effective in humans, and any clinical benefit of any such treatment is subject to clinical trials and ultimate approval of its use in patients by the FDA. Such approval, if granted, could be years away.

Forward-looking statements are predictions, projections, and other statements about future events that are based on current expectations and assumptions and, as a result, are subject to risks and uncertainties. These forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance, conditions, or results, and involve a number of known and unknown risks, uncertainties, assumptions, and other important factors, many of which are outside the control of the Company that could cause actual results or outcomes to differ materially from those discussed in the forward-looking statements. Important factors, among others, that may affect actual results or outcomes include but are not limited to: recently transitioning to operating as a NASDAQ-listed public company with a limited operating history; our ability to successfully complete our pre-clinical trials and for those trials to produce positive results; our ability to timely file and obtain approval of INDs from the FDA in the future; the timing of the initiation, progress and potential results of our planned pre-clinical studies and clinical trials and our research programs; our ability to access additional product candidates from research universities and medical centers; the timing or likelihood of regulatory filings and approvals; the commercializing of our product candidates, if approved; our product development and marketing strategy; our ability and the potential to successfully manufacture and supply our product candidates for clinical trials and for commercial use, if approved; future strategic arrangements and/or collaborations and partnerships, and the potential benefits of such arrangements; our assessment that the early observations from our pre-clinical studies are encouraging; the potential for IND-enabling studies and future clinical trial results to differ from initial results or from our pre-clinical studies; regulatory developments in the United States and other countries; difficulties in managing our growth; our estimates regarding expenses, future revenue, capital requirements and needs for financing and our ability to obtain capital; the sufficiency of our existing and anticipated capital to fund our planned operating expenses; our ability to retain the continued service of our key personnel and to identify, hire and retain additional qualified professionals; the implementation of our business model and strategic plans for our business and product candidates; the scope of protection we are able to establish and maintain for intellectual property rights, product candidates and our pipeline; our ability to contract with third-party suppliers and manufacturers and their ability to perform adequately; the pricing, coverage and reimbursement of our product candidates, if approved; developments relating to our competitors and our industry, including competing product candidates and therapies; changes in the markets in which the Company competes, including with respect to its competitive landscape, technology evolution, or regulatory changes; changes in domestic and global general economic and market conditions; risks related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and response, including supply chain disruptions; the risk that the Company may fail to keep pace with rapid technological developments to provide new and innovative products and services or make substantial investments in unsuccessful new products and services; the outcome of any legal proceedings that may be instituted against the Company; the risk of product liability or regulatory lawsuits or proceedings relating to the Company’s business; the risk of cyber security or foreign exchange losses; the risk that the Company is unable to secure or protect its intellectual property; the risk that the Company may not be able to develop and maintain effective internal controls; the ability to develop, license, or acquire new therapeutics; the risk that the Company will need to raise additional capital to execute its business plan, which may not be available on acceptable terms or at all; and those factors discussed in the Company’s filings with the SEC.

The foregoing list of factors is not exhaustive. You should carefully consider the foregoing factors and the other risks and uncertainties that are described in the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2022, and which are described in the “Risk Factors” section of the Company’s definitive proxy statement filed by the Company on January 12, 2023, and other documents to be filed by the Company from time to time with the SEC and which are and will be available at www.sec.gov. These filings identify and address other important risks and uncertainties that could cause actual events and results to differ materially from those contained in the forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they are made. We do not undertake any obligation to update any forward-looking statements made by us. Readers are cautioned not to put undue reliance on forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements should not be relied upon as representing the Company’s assessments as of any date subsequent to the date of this filing. Accordingly, undue reliance should not be placed upon the forward-looking statements.

Ocean Biomedical Investor Relations

Ocean Biomedical Media Relations

Kevin Kertscher
Communications Director


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Source: Ocean Biomedical, Inc.