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Alimera Sciences Signs Second Agreement With Emory University for Potential Treatments Using New Class of Antioxidants

ATLANTA, Feb. 26 /PRNewswire/ -- Alimera Sciences has entered into a second exclusive worldwide agreement with Emory University to explore oxidative stress management -- specifically the reduction of reactive oxygen species (ROS) -- as a treatment for ophthalmic diseases.

The agreement gives Alimera the exclusive option to license a class of small molecule compounds, known as triphenylmethanes, as a potential treatment for ocular disorders such as diabetic retinopathy and the dry form of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), particularly the late stage of this condition, which is known as geographic atrophy. This agreement is in addition to the September 2007 option to license the NADPH (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate reduced form) oxidase inhibitors for similar treatments.

"This second agreement with Emory expands our opportunity to develop expertise in the management of ROS and its damaging effects on the eye," said Dan Myers, President and CEO for Alimera Sciences. "Researching these compounds, as well as the NADPH oxidase inhibitor compounds from our previous agreement with Emory, provides Alimera with an excellent chance of addressing these significant ophthalmic disorders."

Oxidative stress is increasingly being considered as a key aspect in ocular disease development and progression. The increased levels of ROS, which result from oxidative stress, appear to contribute to certain pathologic conditions, including dry AMD. Therefore, reducing ROS levels is becoming an important therapeutic strategy to treat AMD as well as other ophthalmic conditions. While antioxidant compounds attack existing ROS, triphenylmethanes reduce superoxide production and, subsequently, limit the formation of ROS.

If the option is exercised, Alimera will hold an exclusive worldwide license for the triphenylmethanes for ophthalmic indications. Also included in the agreement is an exclusive right to sublicense in ophthalmology and the exclusive option for non-ophthalmic use. Alimera will be responsible for both the development and commercialization of the compounds. Emory will receive milestone payments and royalties from net sales.

Emory University, one of the nation's leading private research universities, has focused its highly successful technology transfer program in recent years on achieving proof-of-concept data with its early-stage inventions to make them more attractive to potential business partners. This program of licensing Emory's intellectual property has generated over $650M for the university in the past four years.

"We are pleased to further our relationship with Alimera," said J. Cale Lennon, III, Ph.D., Assistant Director, Office of Technology Transfer, at Emory University. "The addition of the triphenylmethanes will provide Alimera and Emory with a unique class of therapeutic candidates to address the role of oxidative stress in ophthalmic diseases."

Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is a degenerative eye disease that causes damage to the macula (central retina) of the eye and is the leading cause of blindness for people over the age of 55. AMD affects a person's central vision by causing damage to the macula, the portion of the retina that allows for fine details in vision. AMD manifests itself in two forms, the "wet" form and the more common "dry" form. The "wet" form is caused by the growth of new blood vessels behind the macula. This can cause severe visual loss due to subsequent leakage and creation of scar tissue. Dry AMD accounts for up to 90 percent of all cases of AMD and causes a gradual thinning and loss of function of the macula. There is no drug approved for the treatment of dry AMD at this time.

About Alimera Sciences Inc.

Alimera Sciences Inc., a venture backed company, specializes in the development and commercialization of prescription ophthalmology pharmaceuticals. Founded by an executive team with extensive development and revenue growth expertise, Alimera Sciences' products are focused on improving the delivery of therapeutic agents to enhance patients' lives and strengthen physicians' ability to manage ocular conditions. Alimera has recently completed enrollment of its 956-patient phase III clinical trial of fluocinolone acetonide in the Medidur(TM) drug delivery system for the treatment of diabetic macular edema. For more information, please visit

About Emory University

Emory University is one of the nation's leading private research universities and a member of the Association of American Universities. Known for its demanding academics, outstanding undergraduate college of arts and sciences, highly ranked professional schools, and state-of-the-art research facilities, Emory is ranked as one of the country's top 20 national universities by U.S. News & World Report. In addition to its nine schools, the university encompasses The Carter Center, Yerkes National Primate Research Center and Emory Healthcare, Georgia's largest and most comprehensive health care system. Emory's technology transfer success, in the life sciences area alone, includes eight licensed products with market approval for the treatment of HIV and an additional nine potential therapeutics in various stages of clinical development by its licensees.

SOURCE Alimera Sciences Inc.
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