According to the CDC, patients with high blood pressure have a greater risk for heart disease and stroke, which are leading causes of death in the U.S. Nearly half of adults in the U.S. (108 million, or 45%) have hypertension defined as a systolic blood pressure ≥ 130 mm Hg or a diastolic blood pressure ≥ 80 mm Hg or are taking medication for hypertension. In 2018, nearly half a million deaths in the U.S. included hypertension as a primary or contributing cause. Only about 1 in 4 adults (24%) with hypertension have their condition under control. Patients often have persistent hypertension despite being on multiple therapies. Ethnicity and genetic makeup are known to impact the response to anti-hypertensive treatments, and uncontrolled hypertension has been associated with certain genetic makeups. Given the size of the market and the prevalence of unmet medical needs, major pharmaceutical companies have maintained hypertension as a key area of focus and continue to seek new drugs to compete in markets they have established with previous anti-hypertensive therapies. We are currently engaged in a process to test the industry’s interest in investing in new drugs in this market, and plan to pursue potential licensing transactions and/or other strategic opportunities with a company that has interest in and/or operates in the anti-hypertension market

Rostafuroxin is designed to be a selective antagonist of adducin polymorphisms and endogenous ouabain, both known triggers of hypertension, and creates functional effects by enhancing renal tubular sodium reabsorption and increasing vascular tone. Rostafuroxin has been studied in three Phase 2 clinical trials assessing reduction in blood pressure in a hypertensive population selected in accordance with a specified genetic profile. A Phase 2b clinical trial was conducted as a two-part study with the first part conducted in Italy with Caucasian patients and the second part conducted in Taiwan with ethnic Chinese patients. The efficacy results in Italy were positive in both this trial and in an earlier Phase 2a clinical trial; however, the blood pressure response in Chinese patients in the second part of the Phase 2b study was minimal.

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Hypertension Cascade: Hypertension Prevalence, Treatment and Control Estimates Among US Adults Aged 18 Years and Older Applying the Criteria From the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association’s 2017 Hypertension Guideline—NHANES 2013–2016 external icon. Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services; 2019; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Underlying Cause of Death, 1999–2018. CDC WONDER Online Database. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 2018. Accessed March 12, 2020;