Cambridge, Mass., June 17, 2016 – Imara, Inc, a biotechnology company dedicated to developing novel therapeutics for patients with sickle cell disease and other hemoglobinopathies, marks World Sickle Cell Awareness Day, June 19th, through introductions to the Sickle Cell Society, Sickle Cell Warriors and sponsorship for the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America 44th Annual Meeting.
The Sickle Cell Society, Sickle Cell Warriors and the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America each support individuals, and their parents and partners, living with sickle cell disease through education, advocacy and community. Imara is pleased to support these efforts.
Patients living with sickle cell disease live with many challenges. The presence of sickle hemoglobin leads to sickling of the red blood cells and activation of white blood cells which together block the microcapillaries that bring oxygen to tissues producing bouts of pain, sometimes requiring hospitalization, and damaging many tissues in the body. There is a tremendous unmet medical need facing those whose lives are impacted by this devastating disease.
In addition, as James McArthur, Chief Executive Officer of Imara writes in the blog “Hearing the Patient’s Voice,” patients often do not have access to comprehensive medical care, requiring them to float among emergency rooms, internists, GPs, and hematologist-oncologists. As a result of the disease, the absence of safe and effective therapy and holes in medical care, patients are at elevated risk for acute chest syndrome, strokes, chronic pain and death.
Imara, the second new company launched by orphan drug accelerator Cydan Development, is developing IMR-687, a disease-modifying therapeutic selected specifically for the treatment of sickle cell disease and other hemoglobinopathies. IMR-687 is an orally-administered, highly potent and selective phosphodiesterase 9 (PDE9) inhibitor developed to treat the underlying causes of the pathology of sickle cell disease. Pre-clinical data shows IMR-687 reduces both the sickling of red blood cells and blood vessel occlusion. IMR-687 also demonstrates a robust pre-clinical safety profile. Imara plans to file an Investigational New Drug (IND) application with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to develop IMR-687 for sickle cell disease in 2016.
Imara Inc., a Cydan Development company, is dedicated to developing novel therapeutics for patients with sickle cell disease, a rare, genetic blood disease that leads to a reduction of healthy red blood cells, blocked blood vessels and a multitude of pathologies. Imara is developing IMR-687, a highly selective, potent small molecule inhibitor of PDE9, to treat patients with sickle cell disease. The company was launched following an 18-month diligence and de-risking scientific collaboration between orphan drug accelerator Cydan Development and H. Lundbeck A/S with initial funding from life science investors NEA, Pfizer Venture Investments, Lundbeckfond Ventures, Bay City Capital and Alexandria Venture Investments.