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Altheos Inc.

This article was originally published in Start Up

Executive Summary

At its inception, Altheos licensed a series of selective Rho-kinase inhibitors for glaucoma from Asahi Kasei Pharma, and it plans to move the lead candidate into clinical trials in the coming year. Although the start-up is behind several companies that already have ongoing ROCK inhibitor trials, Altheos believes its approach to drug discovery and medicinal chemistry make its therapeutic likely to prove itself the best among the new class of medicines for staving off vision loss from glaucoma.

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Start-Up Previews (10/2010)

A preview of the emerging health care companies profiled in the current issue of Start-Up. This month's profile group, "Eyeing New Drugs For Glaucoma," features profiles of Altheos, Amakem and Mimetogen Pharmaceuticals. Plus these Start-Ups Across Health Care: Aragon Surgical, Arcarios, Carolina BioPharm, Miromatrix Medical and Pathogenica.

Mimetogen Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Mimetogen Pharmaceuticals Inc.'s founding goal was to use synthetic analogs of nerve growth factor to protect the retinal ganglion cells of the optic nerve that die as glaucoma progresses. In doing so, it intended to show that its drugs provided neuroprotective ability and also enhanced this effect for other treatments prescribed to lower intraocular pressure. Mimetogen validated that program in animals, but given the cost and length of clinical trials for glaucoma, the company switched gears and began developing its NGF mimetics as potential treatments for dry eye.

Amakem NV

Launched in early 2010 by former Devgen executives, Amakem NV joins the ranks of companies developing rho-kinase inhibitors for glaucoma. It is using its "Localized Drug Action" platform to limit the side effects common to most kinase inhibitors, a strategy it believes will provide an edge over competitors whose ROCK inhibitors are far more advanced.

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