$134 Million in Financial Backing for Innovative Research and IND Fillings Announced by Ocean Biomedical (NASDAQ: OCEA); Provides Latest Updates on Advancement of Platform, Novel Discoveries in Malaria, Pulmonary Fibrosis and Oncology

Providence, RI, April 17, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Ocean Biomedical, Inc. (“Ocean”), a biopharma company working to accelerate the development and commercialization of scientifically compelling assets from research universities and medical centers, shared today an update on key company activities.

Notable Investment Activity

Ocean has partnered with some of the premier investment institutions in the healthcare space. This has led to a secure and growing runway to continue Ocean’s important scientific innovations, with funding including:

  • A $59 million committed backstop by Vellar Opportunity Fund SPV LLC – Series 3.
  • A Common Stock Purchase Agreement with White Lion Capital LLC, which provides that White Lion Capital is committed to purchase the company’s Common Stock with an aggregate gross purchase price of up to $75 million, bringing total current investment to $134 million.
  • $123.9 million in past and ongoing grants, in use to enable first-in-class drug and vaccine candidates that make up Ocean’s initial core portfolio in oncology, fibrosis, and infectious disease, all based on new target discoveries.
  • Ocean visited the Nasdaq MarketSite in Times Square to ring the Opening Bell in its debut as a public company.

Management Comments

Dr. Chirinjeev Kathuria, Chairman and co-founder of Ocean, stated, "This financing will provide Ocean Biomedical with a stronger capital position, enabling us to move forward quickly towards IND filings and potentially deliver important solutions to end suffering and save hundreds of thousands of lives."

Suren Ajjarapu, a director of Ocean, added, "We are appreciative of the support investors are providing so we can move our programs forward."

“We’re immensely pleased with the progress we’re making as a Company,” said Elizabeth Ng, Ocean’s CEO. “Our portfolio of drug and vaccine candidates continues to accrue scientific merit, and our relationships with both institutional and retail investors are growing increasingly robust.”

Ocean Is Addressing Profound Areas of Unmet Need

Ocean Biomedical’s business model centers on the work of the world’s premier scientists. Together, the brightest minds at premier research institutions such as Brown and Stanford Universities hold the solutions to some of the greatest challenges to human health. With the support of Ocean, these innovations can be more quickly delivered to those that desperately need them. Since the company’s last corporate update, the following milestones have occurred:


  • Ocean announced the discovery of a second major anti-tumor pathway and therapeutic approach that targets CTLA-4, inhibiting the metastasis of malignant melanoma cells to the lung using a novel bispecific antibody approach.
  • Ocean acknowledged the previously announced discovery of bispecific antibodies that target Chitinase 3-like-1 and immune checkpoint inhibitors, killing glioblastoma cells and melanoma cells, and blocking the metastasis of malignant melanoma cells to the lung by over 90%.
  • Ocean and Scientific Co-founder Dr. Jack A. Elias, MD, presented details of his previously published discoveries that have potential applications for tumor suppression across multiple cancer pathways at the Legorreta Cancer Center’s recent meeting in Providence.

Pulmonary Fibrosis

  • Ocean and Dr. Jack A. Elias reaffirmed their commitment to targeting its pulmonary fibrosis treatment candidate, OCF-203, as a novel therapeutic for fatal pulmonary fibrotic conditions caused by Hermansky-Pudlak Syndrome (HPS).

Infectious Disease / Malaria

  • Scientific Co-founder and member of the board of directors Dr. Jonathan Kurtis, MD PhD, was awarded a new patent for his discovery related to malaria, a third parasite target called PfCDPK-5 that can potentially be used to interdict the parasite at multiple stages in the malaria cycle.
  • Dr. Kurtis presented details of the Company’s novel malaria treatment approach to scientists at the National Institute of Health’s (NIH) Laboratory of Malaria Vaccinology and Immunology in Bethesda, MD.
  • Scientific Co-founder and member of the board of directors Dr. Jonathan Kurtis, MD, PhD, received a Notice of Allowance from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) for his U.S. patent application covering a therapeutic and prophylactic monoclonal antibody that kills falciparum malaria parasites.

These new milestones add to Ocean’s significant scientific knowledge/data, supporting its pipeline in some of the most difficult diseases we face today:


  • Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is the leading cause of cancer death and second most diagnosed cancer in the United States, affecting approximately 460,000 people in the U.S. alone.
  • Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is a lethal type of brain tumor with a single-digit five-year survival rate. It affects approximately 28,000 people in the U.S. alone.

CHI3L1 is a novel target and pathway discovery, the master checkpoint inhibitor, uncovered by the Ocean team. This novel, bispecific antibody approach generates a strong anti-tumor response in lung cancer and brain cancer, whether used in combination or as a monotherapy. Ocean Biomedical’s novel approach to tumor suppression, focused on controlling Chitinase 3-like-1 (CHI3LI), other immune checkpoint inhibitors, and T-cell co-stimulators, could control important pathways pan-cancer and has potential application for tumor suppression across multiple cancer pathways.

Pulmonary Fibrosis

  • Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is a progressive disease that results in the irreversible loss of lung function with high morbidity and mortality rates. Its prevalence in the U.S. has been reported to range from 10-60 cases per 100,000 people, while in Europe, it ranges from 1.3-32.5 cases per 100,000.
  • HPS is a rare genetic disease with high prevalence in Puerto Rico, with 1 case in every 1,800 people.

Ocean has identified a novel target and pathway discovery called Chitinase 1 (Chit1), as well as a potential inhibitor of this pathway called OCF-203. OCF-203 has been evaluated in multiple models of pulmonary fibrosis with impressive reductions in fibrosis. These discoveries hold potential for growth into other fibrotic diseases, including scleroderma, alcoholic liver disease, and NASH.

Infectious Disease / Malaria

  • Malaria is a deadly disease, with over 3 billion people at risk of infection annually worldwide. 200-300 million people are infected worldwide each year. It is the number one killer of children under five years old, with over 500,000 children under five killed each year.

Ocean’s proprietary platform for infectious diseases has yielded promising vaccine and therapeutic candidates for malaria, including the discovery of PfSEA-1 and PfGARP. These targets enable a promising new strategy for combating the disease. Moreover, the company’s drug target discovery platform can potentially discover targets against other infectious diseases, like tuberculosis or another pandemic-type virus.

About Ocean Biomedical

Ocean Biomedical, Inc. (“Ocean” or the “Company”) is a Providence, Rhode Island-based biopharma company with an innovative business model that accelerates the development and commercialization of scientifically compelling assets from research universities and medical centers. Ocean deploys the funding and expertise to move new therapeutic candidates efficiently from the laboratory to the clinic to the world. Ocean is currently developing five promising discoveries that have the potential to achieve life-changing outcomes in lung cancer, brain cancer, pulmonary fibrosis, and the prevention and treatment of malaria. The Ocean team is working on solving some of the world’s toughest problems, for the people who need it most.

To learn more, visit www.oceanbiomedical.com.

Forward-Looking Statements

The information included herein and in any oral statements made in connection herewith include “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the “safe harbor” provisions of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements may be identified by the use of words such as “estimate,” “plan,” “project,” “forecast,” “intend,” “will,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “believe,” “seek,” “target,” or other similar expressions that predict or indicate future events or trends or that are not statements of historical matters, although not all forward-looking statements contain such identifying words. These forward-looking statements include but are not limited to: the expected timing and success of investigational new drug (“IND”) filings for our initial product candidates; statements regarding the expected timing of our IND-enabling studies; the frequency and timing of filing additional INDs; expectations regarding the availability and addition of future assets to our pipeline; the advantages of any of our pipeline assets and platforms; the potential benefits of our product candidates; potential commercial opportunities; the timing of key milestones for our programs; the future financial condition, results of operations, business strategy and plans, and objectives of management for future strategy and operations; and statements about industry trends and other companies in the industry. These forward-looking statements are based on various assumptions, whether or not identified herein, and on the current expectations of the Company’s management, and they are not predictions of actual performance. These forward-looking statements are provided for illustrative purposes only and are not intended to serve as, and must not be relied on by any investor as, a guarantee, an assurance, a prediction, or a definitive statement of fact or probability. Actual events and circumstances are difficult or impossible to predict and will differ from assumptions.

Any discoveries announced by the Company are based solely on laboratory and animal studies. Ocean has not conducted any studies that show similar efficacy or safety in humans. There can be no assurances that any treatment tested by the Company will prove safe or effective in humans, and any clinical benefit of any such treatment is subject to clinical trials and ultimate approval of its use in patients by the FDA. Such approval, if granted, could be years away.

Forward-looking statements are predictions, projections, and other statements about future events that are based on current expectations and assumptions and, as a result, are subject to risks and uncertainties. These forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance, conditions, or results, and involve a number of known and unknown risks, uncertainties, assumptions, and other important factors, many of which are outside the control of the Company that could cause actual results or outcomes to differ materially from those discussed in the forward-looking statements. Important factors, among others, that may affect actual results or outcomes include but are not limited to: recently transitioning to operating as a NASDAQ-listed public company with a limited operating history; our ability to successfully complete our pre-clinical trials and for those trials to produce positive results; our ability to timely file and obtain approval of INDs from the FDA in the future; the timing of the initiation, progress and potential results of our planned pre-clinical studies and clinical trials and our research programs; our ability to access additional product candidates from research universities and medical centers; the timing or likelihood of regulatory filings and approvals; the commercializing of our product candidates, if approved; our product development and marketing strategy; our ability and the potential to successfully manufacture and supply our product candidates for clinical trials and for commercial use, if approved; future strategic arrangements and/or collaborations and partnerships, and the potential benefits of such arrangements; our assessment that the early observations from our pre-clinical studies are encouraging; the potential for IND-enabling studies and future clinical trial results to differ from initial results or from our pre-clinical studies; regulatory developments in the United States and other countries; difficulties in managing our growth; our estimates regarding expenses, future revenue, capital requirements and needs for financing and our ability to obtain capital; the sufficiency of our existing and anticipated capital to fund our planned operating expenses; our ability to retain the continued service of our key personnel and to identify, hire and retain additional qualified professionals; the implementation of our business model and strategic plans for our business and product candidates; the scope of protection we are able to establish and maintain for intellectual property rights, product candidates and our pipeline; our ability to contract with third-party suppliers and manufacturers and their ability to perform adequately; the pricing, coverage and reimbursement of our product candidates, if approved; developments relating to our competitors and our industry, including competing product candidates and therapies; changes in the markets in which the Company competes, including with respect to its competitive landscape, technology evolution, or regulatory changes; changes in domestic and global general economic and market conditions; risks related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and response, including supply chain disruptions; the risk that the Company may fail to keep pace with rapid technological developments to provide new and innovative products and services or make substantial investments in unsuccessful new products and services; the outcome of any legal proceedings that may be instituted against the Company; the risk of product liability or regulatory lawsuits or proceedings relating to the Company’s business; the risk of cyber security or foreign exchange losses; the risk that the Company is unable to secure or protect its intellectual property; the risk that the Company may not be able to develop and maintain effective internal controls; the ability to develop, license, or acquire new therapeutics; the risk that the Company will need to raise additional capital to execute its business plan, which may not be available on acceptable terms or at all; and those factors discussed in the Company’s filings with the SEC.

The foregoing list of factors is not exhaustive. You should carefully consider the foregoing factors and the other risks and uncertainties that are described in the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2022, and which are described in the “Risk Factors” section of the Company’s definitive proxy statement filed by the Company on January 12, 2023, and other documents to be filed by the Company from time to time with the SEC and which are and will be available at www.sec.gov. These filings identify and address other important risks and uncertainties that could cause actual events and results to differ materially from those contained in the forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they are made. Readers are cautioned not to put undue reliance on forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements should not be relied upon as representing the Company’s assessments as of any date subsequent to the date of this filing. Accordingly, undue reliance should not be placed upon the forward-looking statements.

Ocean Biomedical Investor Relations

Ocean Biomedical Media Relations

Kevin Kertscher
Communications Director