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Omeros Announces It Has Unlocked Over 20 Percent of Class A Orphan GPCRs

SEATTLE, Nov. 30, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Omeros Corporation (NASDAQ: OMER) today reported that with its identification of compounds that interact selectively with each of four additional orphan G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) – GPR19, GPR20, GPR31 and GPR141 – it has now unlocked over 20 percent of the 77 Class A orphans.  GPCRs represent the premier family of drug targets, with more than 30 percent of currently marketed drugs targeting only 46 GPCRs. There are approximately 120 orphan GPCRs, and Omeros, which expects to unlock a large percentage of these for drug development, is initially targeting Class A orphan GPCRs.

The four additional orphan receptors unlocked by Omeros are linked to important potential indications. GPR19 has been tied to metastatic melanoma, the most advanced stage of melanoma.  GPR20 and GPR141 are expressed in areas of the body associated with gastrointestinal disorders and respiratory/immunologic disorders, respectively.  GPR31 has been implicated in anxiety disorders, which affect approximately 40 million adults in the United States in a given year.  By identifying compounds that interact selectively with each of these four orphan receptors – as for the other 14 orphan GPCRs that it has previously unlocked – Omeros is uniquely able to provide templates to the pharmaceutical industry for the design of proprietary compounds that interact with these receptors.

"We continue to march through the Class A orphan GPCRs and have initiated compound optimization," said Gregory A. Demopulos, M.D., chairman and chief executive officer of Omeros.  "In parallel, we are executing on our intellectual property strategy to protect each unlocked target through a multipronged approach directed to compound structures, uniquely identified signaling pathways and associated therapeutic indications.  Collectively, this approach provides us the opportunity to establish broad and enforceable protection for each receptor that we unlock."

Ongoing GPCR Program

Omeros has begun screening orphan GPCRs against its small-molecule chemical libraries using its proprietary, high-throughput cellular redistribution assay (CRA).  Omeros has announced that it has identified and confirmed sets of compounds that interact selectively with 18 orphan receptors linked to metastatic melanoma (GPR19), esophageal squamous cell carcinoma and obesity-related type-2 diabetes (GPR39), squamous cell carcinoma (GPR87), pancreatic cancer (GPR182), acute lymphoblastic leukemia (P2Y8/P2RY8), sleep disorders (OPN4), cognitive disorders (GPR12), anxiety disorders (GPR31), bipolar disorder and schizophrenia (GPR78), psychotic and metabolic disorders (GPR27, GPR85, GPR173), gastrointestinal disorders (GPR20), appetite control (GPR101), rheumatoid arthritis and HIV-mediated enteropathy (GPR15), respiratory and immune disorders (GPR141), motor control (GPR139) and congenital cataracts and birth defects of the brain and spinal cord (GPR161).  The CRA detects receptor antagonists and agonists.  Antagonists comprise the majority of marketed drugs, and all of the compounds characterized so far by Omeros are antagonists.

About G Protein-Coupled Receptors

GPCRs, which mediate key physiological processes in the body, are one of the most valuable families of drug targets.  According to Insight Pharma Reports, GPCR-targeting drugs represent 30 to 40 percent of marketed pharmaceuticals.  Examples include Claritin® (allergy), Zantac® (ulcers and reflux), OxyContin® (pain), Lopressor® (high blood pressure), Imitrex® (migraine headache), Reglan® (nausea) and Abilify® (schizophrenia, bipolar disease and depression) as well as all other antihistamines, opioids, alpha and beta blockers, serotonergics and dopaminergics. 

The industry focuses its GPCR drug discovery efforts mostly on non-sensory GPCRs.  Of the 363 total non-sensory GPCRs, approximately 240 have known ligands (molecules that bind the receptors) with nearly half of those targeted either by marketed drugs (46 GPCRs) or by drugs in development (about 70 GPCRs).  There are approximately 120 GPCRs with no known ligands, which are termed "orphan GPCRs."  Without a known ligand, drug development for a given receptor is extremely difficult.

Omeros uses its proprietary high-throughput CRA to identify small-molecule agonists and antagonists for orphan GPCRs, unlocking them to drug development.  Omeros believes that it is the first to possess the capability to unlock orphan GPCRs in high-throughput, and that currently there is no other comparable technology.  Unlocking these receptors could lead to the development of drugs that act at these new targets. T here is a broad range of indications linked to orphan GPCRs including cardiovascular disease, asthma, diabetes, pain, obesity, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, schizophrenia, learning and cognitive disorders, autism, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis and several forms of cancer.

About Omeros Corporation

Omeros is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company committed to discovering, developing and commercializing products targeting inflammation, coagulopathies and disorders of the central nervous system.  The Company's most clinically advanced product candidates are derived from its proprietary PharmacoSurgery™ platform designed to improve clinical outcomes of patients undergoing a wide range of surgical and medical procedures. Omeros has four ongoing clinical development programs.  Omeros may also have the near-term capability, through its GPCR program, to add a large number of new drug targets and their corresponding compounds to the market.  Behind its clinical candidates and GPCR platform, Omeros is building a diverse pipeline of protein and small-molecule preclinical programs targeting inflammation, coagulopathies and central nervous system disorders.

Forward-looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements as defined within the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, which are subject to the "safe harbor" created by those sections. These statements include, but are not limited to, statements regarding Omeros' expectations regarding its ability unlock orphan GPCRs and add a large number of new drug targets and their corresponding compounds to the market; the disorders that could potentially be treated by drugs that target unlocked orphan receptors, including GPR19, GPR20, GPR31 and GPR141; the pharmaceutical industry's ability to design of proprietary compounds that interact with these receptors; and Omeros' intellectual property strategy around unlocked orphans and the breadth of protection Omeros may be able to obtain for each target. Forward-looking statements are based on management's beliefs and assumptions and on information available to management only as of the date of this press release. Omeros' actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements for many reasons, including, without limitation, the risks, uncertainties and other factors described under the heading "Risk Factors" in the Company's Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on November 8, 2011. Given these risks, uncertainties and other factors, you should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, and the Company assumes no obligation to update these forward-looking statements publicly, even if new information becomes available in the future.

SOURCE Omeros Corporation
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