MIAMI, FL – OPKO Health, Inc. has agreed to make an investment in Zebra Biologics, Inc. (“Zebra”), a privately held biotechnology company focused on the discovery and development of biosuperior antibody therapeutics and complex drug targets. Zebra’s patented platform is an advanced version of a core technology that underlies the discovery and commercial success of AbbVie Inc.’s Humira(TM), developed by Richard Lerner, M.D., at The Scripps Research Institute. The technology allows for the selection of antibodies for function rather than through simple binding. Zebra has already developed an early pre-clinical pipeline of candidate antibodies with significant commercial potential in regulating diabetes and obesity, cancer, and treatment of neurological disease.
In addition to Phillip Frost, M.D., OPKO’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Zebra’s directors and founders also include Dr. Lerner; Dr. Ronald M. Lindsay, a director and Executive Vice President for Strategic Planning of Sequenom, Inc. (NASDAQ: SQNM), a company providing innovative diagnostic testing and genetic analysis solutions; Mr. Gao Feng, chairman and president of Beijing based Hongye International Investment Group, which operates in the energy, natural resources, finance and bio-pharmaceuticals industries; and Dr. Paul Greengard, Vincent Astor Professor at Rockefeller University and recipient of a 2000 Nobel Prize for his work concerning signal transduction in the nervous system.
“This participation is in keeping with a core strategy of investing in other companies that have valuable proprietary technology and significant future potential for OPKO,” said Dr. Frost. “We are hopeful that our portfolio of investments will continue to appreciate in value as the companies and technologies mature. In some cases, our investments offer opportunities for OPKO to obtain new products; as well as the possibility to monetize them at an appropriate time.”