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Orion Biotechnology's CCR5 Blocker OB-002 Shows Strong Efficacy in a New Preclinical Model of Multiple Sclerosis

OTTAWA, Ontario, July 2, 2019 ( - Orion Biotechnology Canada Ltd., today announced the publication of preclinical data evaluating the efficacy of OB-002 (5P12-RANTES) in a murine model of multiple sclerosis in Science Translation Medicine [1].

Viral infection early in life is a key element in determining the risk of subsequent development of multiple sclerosis (MS). Scientists from the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Geneva (UNIGE) and the University Hospitals of Geneva led by Professor Doron Merkler have published a high-profile paper describing a new preclinical MS model that incorporates early life viral infection in the brain. In this model, sites of cleared virus become lesion sites associated with MS-like pathology when experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) is subsequently induced. EAE lesions contain high levels of inflammatory leukocytes that infiltrate because the sites of cleared virus are long-term sites of production of CCL5, a natural ligand of the chemokine receptor CCR5. Systemic administration of Orion Biotechnology’s best-in-class CCR5 blocker OB-002 was sufficient to fully block both the development of these leukocyte-infiltrated lesions and the associated pathology.

“It is very exciting to have identified a possible pathway linking virus infection early in life to MS pathology, and intriguing that it should be dependent on the activation of a single chemokine receptor,” said Prof. Merkler.

“We are thrilled to see that OB-002 shows such high efficacy in this preclinical context,” said Professor Oliver Hartley, a co-author of the paper from the University of Geneva, and Vice-President for Drug Discovery at Orion Biotechnology. “These data provide a clear rationale to move forward with the development of OB-002 as novel agent for the treatment of MS.”

Mark Groper, President & CEO of Orion Biotechnology, commented, “We are pleased to be working with the University of Geneva and look forward to further collaboration based on these encouraging preclinical findings.”

About Orion Biotechnology Canada, Ltd.

Orion Biotechnology Canada Ltd. is a privately held pharmaceutical company leveraging advanced receptor pharmacology to develop novel therapies for serious chronic illnesses and life-threatening diseases. Since 2017, Orion Biotechnology has been developing a robust pipeline of first-in-class chemokine analogue drug candidates, including our lead candidate, OB-002 – a CCR5 receptor antagonist. Our close ties to diverse institutions and experts around the globe, as well as our proprietary drug discovery platform, continue to stimulate the rapid discovery of promising new treatments. Learn more at

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking information, which reflects Orion’s current expectations regarding future events. Forward-looking information is based on a number of assumptions and is subject to a number of risks and uncertainties, many of which are beyond Orion’s control, that could cause actual results and events to differ materially from those that are disclosed in or implied by such forward-looking information. These forward-looking statements are made as of the date of this press release and, except as expressly required by applicable law, Orion assumes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.


1. Steinbach K, Vincenti I, Egervari K, Kreutzfeldt M, van der Meer F, Page N, et al. Brain-resident memory T cells generated early in life predispose to autoimmune disease in mice. Sci Transl Med 2019; 11(498).

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Last Updated: 02-Jul-2019