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KalVista Pharmaceuticals and JDRF Form Research Partnership Focused on Novel Approach for Treating Diabetic Eye Disease
Date:1/9/2012

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND and NEW YORK, Jan. 9, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- KalVista Pharmaceuticals ("KalVista") and JDRF have formed a research partnership focused on a novel approach being developed by KalVista to preserve vision and slow the progression of diabetic eye disease. Diabetic eye disease is one of the most common and most serious complications in people with type 1 diabetes (T1D). JDRF will provide up to $2.2 million in milestone-based financial support and research expertise to KalVista. The goal of this partnership is to advance KalVista's lead pre-clinical candidate, a plasma kallikrein inhibitor, into human proof-of-concept clinical trials and to generate clinical data that would highlight its potential as an entirely new approach to treat diabetic macular edema (DME). DME is a leading cause of visual loss for people with T1D that involves swelling of the retina, which can lead to blurred vision and blindness.

Plasma kallikrein is an enzyme (a serine protease) that has been identified as a potential therapeutic target in people with diabetic retinopathy. Research has shown   that it contributes to increases in blood vessel leakage and thickening of the retina. Previous JDRF-funded studies led by one of KalVista's co-founders, Edward Feener, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Joslin Diabetes Center, demonstrated that plasma kallikrein is increased and activated in the vitreous fluid of people with DME . This data suggests that chronic activation of plasma kallikrein increases blood vessel inflammation and permeability by generating the production of a hormone called bradykinin, which causes blood vessels to dilate or enlarge. Plasma kallikrein inhibitors are believed to reduce retinal vessel leakage by suppressing the chronic and excessive production of bradykinin.

"Diabetic eye disease is a high priority research area for JDRF. Our support of Dr. Feener's academic research over the years
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SOURCE JDRF
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