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ESBATech's Antibody Fragment Enters Phase I/IIa Clinical Development in Osteoarthritis with the Potential for Disease-Modifying Activity
Date:1/9/2009

steroids. These treatments, however, are restricted to pain management, but do not address cartilage degeneration. Blocking TNF alpha offers the opportunity to attack both aspects, managing pain and structure modification. Because of the degenerative nature of OA, every year more than 130,000 knee replacement surgeries are performed in the U.S. alone. Similar numbers are seen in Europe and other major markets.

Peter Lichtlen, M.D., Ph.D., Head of Clinical Development at ESBATech AG, added, "Antibody fragments have a number of advantages over whole antibodies, resulting from their smaller molecular weight. In fact, they are capable of penetrating tissues not accessible to conventional monoclonal antibodies, such as avascularized tissues like cartilage. By delivering high amounts of ESBA105 directly to the affected joint, the antibody fragment quickly and efficiently distributes to the relevant sites in the joint. On the other hand, based on the local delivery and the short systemic half life, systemic exposure of ESBA105 is very low as compared to traditional TNF alpha inhibitors. This is a crucial point in OA, which is a non-life-threatening, rather local disease. Therefore, systemic suppression of TNF alpha, as achieved by marketed TNF alpha inhibitors and associated with various safety issues, is not justified for osteoarthritis patients. The molecular properties of ESBA105 are tailored to the needs of patients suffering from local disease. In this initial clinical trial, we will focus on safety and effects on signs and symptoms. However, the ultimate goal for ESBA105 in OA is disease modification."

About Osteoarthritis

OA is a clinical syndrome of severe joint pain and dysfunction associated with joint degeneration, in particular cartilage loss. More than 70 million people in the seven major pharmaceutical markets and 40 million in the U.S. alone are afflicted with OA. The disease occurs more frequently with ag
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