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Hofseth Biocare ASA: HBC discovers new drug candidate for asthma and transfers it to HBC Immunology Inc.


Ålesund, 02.07.24, Hofseth BioCare ASA ("HBC" or the "Company"), a global leader in marine lipid and peptide research, today announces the decision to transfer its eosinophil-targeting drug candidate MA-022a to its majority-owned subsidiary HBC Immunology Inc. ("HBCI"). The patent underlying the project has been valued by KWC AS at $4.5m (based on relief-from royalty method) and HBC will therefore receive 956,813 common shares in HBCI for the transfer of the patent to HBCI. 

HBC has booked approximately NOK 7.4m in costs relating to the patent as per June 1, 2024. Transfer of the patent will generate an approximately NOK 7.9m financial gain for HBC in Q2/2024 based on today’s exchange rate.

Eosinophils are immune cells that become overactive in allergic and hypersensitivity conditions including allergic asthma. To date, MA-022a has been assessed in animal models of allergic asthma which have shown a compelling treatment effect with reduced airway obstruction and a healthier lung structure. This work included the oral asthma prescription drug montelukast (brand name Singulair) as a comparator. MA-022a demonstrated a differentiated profile indicating the potential to provide different treatment benefits and help further improve asthma outcomes.

Work has also begun with MA-022a in eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE). EoE presents with symptoms similar to heartburn (reflux esophagitis) but does not respond to standard treatment and can progress to pain on swallowing and even difficulty in swallowing. MA-022a has a different mode of action compared to the two currently available therapies, biologic therapy and steroids. MA-022a could therefore add to the clinical armamentarium in this increasingly prevalent condition.

MA-022a is an analogue of the naturally occurring lipopeptide microcolin A. HBC identified microcolin A as a minor fraction of its whole salmon oil, OmeGo®, and has published novel research on its anti-allergic effects. MA-022a has significantly greater anti-allergic effects than microcolin A and these findings combined with the novel structure of MA-022a has enabled long duration patent protection.

Dr Bomi Framroze, the Chief Scientific Officer at HBC and CEO of HBCI said: “The adequate control of asthma remains a challenge for many sufferers and more treatment options are needed to support better health. Our aim is to develop an oral therapy, based on a natural compound, to improve the lung health of individuals suffering from mild to moderate eosinophilic asthma and reduce the need for escalating doses of inhaled steroid therapy”.

For more information visit:

For further information, please contact:
Dr. Crawford Currie, Head of Medical R&D at HBC, Chief Medical Officer at HBCI
Phone: +44 7968195497

About HBC:
HBC is a Norwegian consumer and pet health ingredient supplier and an incubator for new pharmaceutical drug leads. For OmeGo, clinical trial work with our salmon oil is ongoing to improve lung health in allergic asthma and urban populations with exposure to raised pollution levels. A study in mild COVID has completed successfully demonstrating important immune health benefits for faster recovery. For CalGo, preclinical and clinical trial work is delineating the joint health benefits of the natural, undenatured type II collagen contained in it. ProGo provides both metabolic and gastrointestinal (GI) health benefits. The former includes GLP1 activity and hence consistent weight loss with improved energy levels from improved iron metabolism. The peptides also support muscle health providing a triad of benefits important for healthy ageing and active lifestyles. In terms of GI health, a special formula of soluble protein hydrolysate (SPH / ProGo®) is being developed as a Medical Food to help treat Inflammatory Bowel Disease, and for Iron Deficiency Anemia. Research is ongoing to identify the individual elements within its ingredients that modulate inflammation and the immune response with pre-clinical studies ongoing in multiple clinics and University research labs.

The company is founded on the core values of sustainability, optimal utilization of natural resources and full traceability. Through an innovative hydrolysis technology, HBC can preserve the quality of the lipids, proteins and calcium from fresh salmon off-cuts. HBC's headquarters are in Ålesund, Norway with branches in Oslo, London, Zürich, New Jersey and Palo Alto. HBC is listed on Oslo Børs with ticker "HBC".

This information is subject to the disclosure requirements pursuant to Section 5-12 of the Norwegian Securities Trading Act

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