SOURCE: HemaQuest Pharmaceuticals

January 17, 2008 09:00 ET

HemaQuest Announces Initiation of Phase I Clinical Trial of HQK-1001 to Treat Hemoglobin Disorders

NEWTON, MA--(Marketwire - January 17, 2008) - HemaQuest Pharmaceuticals, which received its first round of venture financing three months ago, today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has accepted its application for an investigational new drug (IND) and has started a Phase I clinical trial of its orally administered, patented therapeutic, HQK-1001. The product is being developed to treat the two most common inherited blood diseases, sickle cell anemia and thalassemia.

The Phase I clinical study is being carried out in healthy volunteers, who will receive increasing doses of HQK-1001 to evaluate its safety and pharmacokinetics in anticipation of future clinical trials in patients with these hemoglobin disorders.

HemaQuest President and CEO Ronald Berenson, MD, said, "We are pleased to reach this important milestone within three months of the founding of our company. We are committed to continuing the rapid development path for HQK-1001, which has the potential to be a major advance in treating serious and life-threatening blood disorders."

Susan Perrine, MD, the company's chief scientific officer and vice president of clinical affairs, whose discoveries led to HQK-1001, added, "This clinical trial is the culmination of many years of laboratory and animal studies of HQK-1001. It represents the first step in the clinical development of this exciting new therapeutic, which could make a significant impact on improving the lives of the many patients with sickle cell anemia and thalassemia."

ABOUT HEMAQUEST PHARMACEUTICALS

HemaQuest Pharmaceuticals (www.HemaQuest.com) is a Boston-based biopharmaceutical company focused on developing small molecule therapeutics based on its short chain fatty acid derivative (SCFAD) technologies to treat anemias and other blood disorders. Its initial therapeutic focus is on thalassemia and sickle cell anemia, which afflicts several million patients worldwide and approximately 80,000 patients in the USA. There are currently few therapeutic alternatives for these diseases, which are associated with significant morbidity and shortened patient survival. HemaQuest is also developing other SCFADs that could prove useful in treating other hematological disorders, such as other kinds of anemia and neutropenia.

The company's investors include De Novo Ventures, a Palo Alto, CA life sciences venture capital partnership; Forward Ventures, a life sciences venture capital firm based in San Diego; and Lilly Ventures of Indianapolis, IN, the venture capital arm of Eli Lilly and Company.

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