Portage Pharmaceuticals Limited

About Portage Pharmaceuticals Limited and EyGen Limited

On June 4, 2013, following the acquisition of Portage Pharma Ltd, the Company’s wholly owned subsidiary, Portage Acquisition Inc. and Portage Pharma Ltd amalgamated. The amalgamated company was named Portage Pharma Limited and was incorporated in the BVI.

PPL focuses on discovering and developing innovative cell permeable peptide (CPP) therapies to normalize gene expression, restore protein function, and improve medical outcomes. Its core technology involves delivering biologically active “cargo” to intracellular and intranuclear targets to normalize cell and tissue function, improve the immunogenicity of vaccines and enable better treatment of intracellular pathogens.

 PPL tested a number of different cell penetrating peptides (CPPs)CPPs and found one that they derived from human genes that was superior to the others tested including the Antennapedia fruit fly-derived CPP PPL previously licensed from Trojantec and Imperial College in London. PPL selected this human-­‐based CPP to be the basis of their CellPorter® platform. PPL strategy was and still is exploring the ways it can be used therapeutically. The CPP platform is protected until 2034 by international patent filings for its proprietary human-derived cell penetrating peptide structures without any therapeutic restrictions.

In July 2014, PPL successfully validated CellPorter®, a new proprietary cell permeable peptide platform technology derived from human proteins. CellPorter® has been shown to efficiently deliver an active pharmacological agent or cargo into cells without disrupting the cell membrane.  In a collaboration with the Pirbright Institute (UK), a CellPorter® conjugated CD8 T-cell antigenic epitope derived from mycobacterium tuberculosis was demonstrated to provoke a specific CD8 T-cell immune response in Balb/c mice suggesting possible application of this technology for vaccines.

PPL pursued other collaborations to bring world-class subject area expertise to some of their research questions. PPL collaborated with scientists at Yale to evaluate its cell penetrating properties, with scientists at the National Eye Institute to evaluate its penetration into eye tissues when given as eye drops, and with a scientist at the University of Michigan to investigate blood brain barrier penetration. Through these collaborations PPL management learned that CellPorter® enhances immune reactions to vaccines, did get inside eye tissues, and did penetrate the blood brain barrier. PPL also conducted its own studies that demonstrated CellPorter® can be used to dose peptides systemically by inhalation, and has ongoing work using CellPorter® to deliver peptide cargos that regulate gene function in cancer and other diseases. 

 Over the last two years PPL developed PPL-­‐003 ophthalmic solution, a topical eye drop intended to treat dry eye disease, uveitis, and other inflammatory eye diseases.  After completing animal efficacy studies in models of these diseases and developing a commercializable formulation, PPL put together a non-clinical and clinical development plan for PPL-003 ophthalmic solution and held a pre-IND meeting with FDA on September 15, 2017. After this very successful meeting, PPL-003 ophthalmic solution now has a clear path to Phase I and Phase II studies in healthy volunteers and patients with dry eye disease.

PPL also continues to advance early stage programs aimed at cancers with high medical need.  Positive laboratory data in these programs has further validated the CellPorter® platform.  The most advanced program is investigating the peptide’s pharmacodynamics in a mouse tumor model. 

EYGEN Ltd (EyGen)

EyGen was incorporated on September 20, 2016 under the laws of the British Virgin Islands.

Since the final preclinical and clinical development of PPL-003 would be substantially more capital intensive than prior work on the CellPorter® platform, Portage management decided to spin out its lead asset with the aim of independently financing PPL-003 and building a company in ophthalmology while retaining an interest in the company. EyGen was therefore created as a new ophthalmic company focused on developing preclinical ophthalmology assets through proof of concept. In addition to a license for PPL-003 in ophthalmic indications, EyGen will also have an exclusive license for the use of the CellPorter® technology for other ophthalmic drugs.

EyGen’s lead asset is PPL-003, a potent anti-inflammatory created by PPL and being developed for topical ophthalmic delivery in patients with ocular surface and anterior segment diseases. PPL-003 has demonstrated steroid-like efficacy in animal disease models without steroid-like side effects. 

EyGen has put together a seasoned management team with both business and drug development expertise in this area and will develop PPL-003 ophthalmic solution for dry eye disease before exploring other ocular inflammatory diseases.  EyGen  will be  seeking financing of approximately $10 million to reach the end of a Phase II trial in dry eye disease to confirm its target profile of corticosteroid-like efficacy without the adverse effects of steroids such as increased intraocular pressure (glaucoma).

Portage Pharmaceuticals Limited Board of Directors and Senior Management

  • Declan Doogan, MD

    Declan Doogan, MD


    Dr. Declan Doogan has over 30 years of industry experience in both major pharma and biotech. He was the Senior Vice-President and Head of Worldwide Development at Pfizer, where many multibillion dollar programs were delivered (e.g., Viagra, Lipitor and Zoloft). He has held a number of executive positions in Pfizer in the US, the UK and Japan. Since leaving Pfizer in 2007 he has been engaged in executive roles in small pharma. Declan was CMO and acting CEO of Amarin (AMRN: Nasdaq), transforming it from a failing Neuroscience company to a vibrant cardiovascular company with a market capitalization of over one billion dollars before his departure. He has also been Chief Medical Officer for Prometheus Laboratories, a molecular diagnostics company in San Diego. Declan is also an investor in emerging biotechnology and technology companies. He holds a number of Board appointments, principally in pharma companies, and has also held professorships positions at Harvard School of Public Health, Glasgow University Medical School and Kitasato University (Tokyo). Declan received his medical degree from Glasgow University in 1975. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and the Faculty Pharmaceutical Medicine and holds a Doctorate of Science at the University of Kent in the UK.

  • Kamlesh Shah, CPA

    Kamlesh Shah, CPA

    Chief Financial Officer and Director

    Kam Shah is a senior finance executive with over 25 years of financial and management experience across a range of industries and companies with significant operating scale and complexity. Kam is a Certified Public Accountant and Chartered Global Management Accountant of the American Institute of CPAs and a Chartered Professional Accountant of the Canadian Institute of CPAs. He has experience in all aspects of corporate finance, including audits, SEC/OSC reporting, forecasting, and business plan development.

    Over the past 15 years, Kam has served as the Chief Financial Officer and Corporate Secretary of Bontan Corporation Inc., a publicly-listed group of companies engaged in biotechnology and oil and gas exploration.  Kam is also the Chief Financial Officer of SalvaRx Group PLC, and its subsidiary, iOx Therapeutics Ltd.

  • Greg Bailey, MD

    Greg Bailey, MD


    Gregory Bailey is a co-founder and managing partner of MediqVentures.

    Previously he was a managing partner of Palantir Group, Inc., a merchant bank involved in a number of biotech company startups and financings. Palantir was also involved in acquiring intellectual property assets and founding companies around the IP.

    As such Greg was the co-founder of Ascent Healthcare Solutions, VirnetX Inc. (VHC:AMEX), Portage Biotech Inc. (PTGEF: OTCBB) and DuraMedic Inc. He was the initial financier and an independent director of Medivation, Inc. (MDVN:NASDAQ), from 2005 to December 2012.

    Dr. Bailey served as the Managing Director and co-Head of Life Sciences at MDB Capital Group LLC from May 2004 to December 2006.

    Greg has served on the board of directors of multiple public companies.

    Greg practiced emergency medicine for 10 years before entering finance. He received his medical degree from the University of Western Ontario.

  • Bruce Littman, MD

    Bruce Littman, MD

    Chief Executive Officer and Director 

    Dr. Littman has over 30 years of research and drug development experience.  He was Vice President and Global Head of Translational Medicine at Pfizer and also has a strong academic background in immunology, rheumatology and inflammation.  His skill set is particularly suited to developing de-risking strategies and using an understanding of how drugs behave in the body to evaluate early drug candidates. He has an excellent track record in early clinical development. After retiring from Pfizer at the end of 2007 he became an independent consultant.  Prior to that, he served for 13 years on the faculty of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Medical College of Virginia. He is an author and co-editor of “Translational Medicine and Drug Discovery” published in 2011 by Cambridge University Press.

  • Frank Marcoux, Ph D

    Frank Marcoux, Ph D

    Chief Scientific Officer and Director

    Dr. Marcoux has over 25 years of pharmaceutical company and academic research experience. He was the VP of Quantitative and Innovative Medicine in WW Development at Pfizer and former VP WW Discovery Biology Discipline Head until 2008 when he became an independent consultant. Previously he worked for Parke-Davis Pharmaceutical Research, for seventeen years. Dr. Marcoux’s consulting focus is on high confidence translation of drug discovery programs to early clinical proof of concept and is aimed at biotech, pharma and academic medical centres. Dr. Marcoux holds a Ph.D. in Physiology and Biophysics and has held research positions prior to industry at Harvard Medical School/Massachusetts General Hospital, University of Alabama, Birmingham, Medical Center, and at the University of Vermont, College of Medicine.