This continues the brace of strong news flow from the company.
The company has completed its first in-life diabetic nephropathy study of two of its proprietary MK-Ab's in a mouse model of the disease.
This study provides important new information, as it is the first time Cellmid has used its own MK-Ab's in a therapeutic setting in a kidney disease model.
Both antibodies reduced kidney damage significantly, as assessed by functional and histological analysis, with kidney structure largely preserved in the treated animals.
The results of this diabetic nephropathy study present a promising start to the company's review of the therapeutic potential of its anti-MK antibody portfolio.
It will contribute to the decision to select a lead disease indication Cellmid can then take into the clinic.
The current study using Cellmid's MK-Ab's was conducted by scientists at the Centre for Transplantation and Renal Research, based at the Westmead Millennium Institute and University of Sydney, Westmead Hospital.
The study used an Adriamycin (NYSE:AN)-induced mouse model of nephropathy, in which a single AN injection leads to kidney damage reminiscent of that seen in human diabetic nephropathy.
Renal histological assessment showed that glomerular sclerosis was reduced from 48% in untreated animals to below 20% in both MK-Ab treated groups (p<0.01).
Interstitial volume was also significantly reduced, from 35% in untreated animals to 12% in both antibody groups (p<0.01).
MK-Ab treatment also maintained tubular cell height - untreated animals had mean cell heights below 2μm, compared to 4μm for treated animals (p<0.05).
Kidney function was also preserved, with MK-Ab treated animals showing reduced protein leakage into the urine compared to untreated controls.
Protein casts in the kidney, indicating damage, were also significantly reduced in antibody treated animals.
Importantly, the MK-Ab treated animals showed healthy weight gain and reduced mortality compared to untreated controls.
Only 6.3% of treated animals died before the end of the study, compared to 25% of the untreated animals.
Midkine's role in kidney disease
Midkine's role in kidney disease has been extensively studied in the past and is the subject of a dozen peer-reviewed publications.
These studies show that midkine is a key driver of inflammation and damage in a variety of kidney disease and injury settings.
Large global target market
Diabetic nephropathy is the leading cause of chronic kidney disease globally.
It is also one of the most significant long-term complications in terms of morbidity and mortality for patients with diabetes.
In the U.S. alone, diabetes affects 26 million people, and the U.S. Centre for Disease Control estimates that as many as one in three adults could have diabetes by 2050 if current trends continue.
Currently, diabetic nephropathy is managed by keeping glucose levels under control, however many of the patients develop end stage renal disease (ESRD).
It is estimated that 30% to 40% of all ESRD is caused by diabetic nephropathy.
ESRD requires the traumatic and costly interventions of kidney dialysis or transplant.
A treatment that slowed or halted the progression of diabetic nephropathy into full-blown ESRD would have enormous benefits for the quality of life of diabetes sufferers in addition to reducing the massive costs associated with the treatment of ESRD.
Today's results continue the brace of strong news flow from the company.
Earlier this week Cellmid announced it had been granted a European patent covering the use of midkine inhibitors in the treatment of vascular occlusive disease, the obstruction of blood vessels.
This newest patent offers further intellectual property protection for Cellmid in the area of cardiovascular diseases and in midkine inhibitors.
The company also continues to generate revenue from its over-the-counter évolis® topical hair growth products, which were launched in Australian pharmacies in late June last year.
Cellmid is aiming to have 25%, or 1,300, Australian pharmacies, as well as 210 salons, stocking its évolis® range by the end of 2013.
Based on Cellmid's continued strong results and growth potential, Proactive Investors has calculated a share price target of $0.028 to $0.032 in the short to medium term.
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