OPKO Health to Share in NIH Grant Award

Grant Will Fund Research into Early Diagnosis and New Treatment Options for Type 1 Diabetes

MIAMI--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- OPKO Health, Inc. (NYSE: OPK) today announced that Thomas Kodadek, a scientist at The Scripps Research Institute and the Director of Chemistry and Molecular Biology at OPKO, has been awarded $4.2 million from the National Institutes of Health in a program to advance what the agency calls “bold and creative research” into Type 1 diabetes. The award will be shared with researchers at the University of Miami.

The new four-year grant from the NIH National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) is a special Type 1 Diabetes Impact Award (DP3). Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the body’s own tissues. In Type 1 diabetes, the immune system attacks cells in the pancreas that produce insulin, leading to insulin deficiency. The condition is presently treated with regular insulin injections.

The new grant to Kodadek and his colleagues will fund research to determine early autoimmune reactions that drive the development of Type 1 diabetes, as well as to look for ways to selectively block such autoimmune diseases without shutting down or damaging the entire immune response.

“Once the earliest autoimmune reactions have been identified,” Kodadek said, “we can develop compounds that specifically target the autoimmune cells to see if we can specifically block the disease, first in mice and then in human diabetes patients. Obviously, a new form of therapy for humans would have a profound impact on the treatment of diabetes.”

“Using similar technology invented by Professor Kodadek, OPKO is also engaged in a program to discover specific molecules to treat pemphigus vulgaris, an autoimmune disease of the skin, in which extensive blister formation may be fatal,” said Phillip Frost, M.D., Chairman and CEO of OPKO.

About OPKO Health, Inc.

OPKO is a multi-national biopharmaceutical and diagnostics company that seeks to establish industry-leading positions in large and rapidly growing medical markets by leveraging its discovery, development and commercialization expertise and novel and proprietary technologies.

This press release contains "forward-looking statements," as that term is defined under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (PSLRA), which statements may be identified by words such as "expects," "plans," "projects," "will," "may," "anticipates," "believes," "should," "intends," "estimates," and other words of similar meaning, including statements regarding the diabetes project, our ability to develop compounds that specifically target the automimmune cells to block disease in mice and humans, our ability to develop a new form of therapy for humans and to impact the treatment of diabetes, as well as other non-historical statements about our expectations, beliefs or intentions regarding our business, technologies and products, financial condition, strategies or prospects. Many factors could cause our actual activities or results to differ materially from the activities and results anticipated in forward-looking statements. These factors include those described in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, as well as risks inherent in funding, developing and obtaining regulatory approvals of new, commercially-viable and competitive products and treatments. In addition, forward-looking statements may also be adversely affected by general market factors, competitive product development, product availability, federal and state regulations and legislation, the regulatory process for new products and indications, manufacturing issues that may arise, patent positions and litigation, among other factors. The forward-looking statements contained in this press release speak only as of the date the statements were made, and we do not undertake any obligation to update forward-looking statements. We intend that all forward-looking statements be subject to the safe-harbor provisions of the PSLRA.

OPKO Health, Inc.
Steve Rubin, 305-575-6015

Source: OPKO Health, Inc.