Based on the demonstrated importance of OP-1 in kidney formation during development and the associated therapeutic opportunity, the Company has initiated research to develop treatment for chronic and acute kidney failure. In the past year, preclinical data have indicated the OP-1 is a safe and effective therapy in animal models of chronic and acute renal failure.
Chronic renal failure is a serious medical condition and a target for therapy. In excess of 60,000 new patients with chronic renal failure begin dialysis therapy in the United States every year. Dialysis severely compromises a patients quality of life and costs the health care system approximately $100,000 annually per patient. The Company, with the financial and technical support of Biogen, Inc., is testing the ability of OP-1 to maintain or improve kidney function and thereby prevent or delay the need for dialysis treatment.
Studies in preclinical models of renal disease, presented at the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) 30th Annual Meeting in November 1997, demonstrated that treatment with OP-1 may halt the progression of renal failure. Treated animals maintained better kidney function and showed statistically significant improvement in survival.
OP-1 also may be useful as a treatment for acute renal failurea condition characterized by the rapid loss of the kidneys ability to filter blood that affects approximately 250,000 people in the United States annually. Results presented at the ASN meeting demonstrated the proteins ability to preserve kidney function in acute renal failure models by enhancing blood flow and reducing the inflammation which accompanies damage to the organ. Further preclinical studies in chronic and acute renal failure are ongoing.