Harbor BioSciences, Inc. is the world leader in the development of a proprietary class of adrenal steroid hormones as novel pharmaceuticals and potential nutraceuticals for human health. The adrenals, triangular glands located above each kidney, produce among other key components of the human metabolome, dozens of steroid hormones and have yielded some of the most successful pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals of all time. These include synthetic pharmaceuticals such as glucocorticoids, as well as estrogens and androgens. The nutraceutical dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is one of the most abundant adrenal steroids in the human body and precursor to many well-known hormones, some of which have also become successful nutraceutical products (e.g. 7-keto DHEA). Such products make the adrenal metabolome highly fertile ground for further drug discovery, as was the case in the 1960s and 1970s. It is now appreciated that DHEA can be converted into other potent hormones that also provide regulatory signals. The historical focus has left much of the DHEA metabolome relatively unexplored. Our candidate compounds exploit our discovery of novel, naturally occurring human steroids metabolically derived from DHEA that may possess unique activity.
These compounds in humans have been demonstrated to possess several properties with potential therapeutic benefit - they modulate metabolism, reduce inflammation and regulate cell proliferation. They form the basis for our technology platform. Through its medicinal chemistry program, The Company has produced potent drug candidates with improved pharmaceutical properties. By first defining the chemical identity of a potential native hormone and then applying the tools of medicinal chemistry, the Company has created or identified molecules that are not only orally bioavailable but also potentially more potent and useful as pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals.
The Company's clinical drug development candidates include Triolex® (research code HE3286), in development for the treatment of metabolic and inflammatory disorders. A second candidate, Apoptone® (research code HE3235), is in clinical trials as a treatment for hormone associated tumors such as prostate cancer. In addition to these two clinical candidates, our preclincial research program has generated new leads with activity in a number of different disease models.