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Development Collaboration for Ophthalmic Drugs Could Eliminate Injections
Acuity Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Philadelphia, PA) and Intradigm Corporation (Rockville, MD) have signed an agreement to collaborate on the development of a topical drug to treat wet macular degeneration. Under the terms of the agreement, RNA interference (RNAi) pioneer Intradigm has given Acuity broad rights to its ophthalmic drug discovery and drug delivery platforms.
A key focus of the collaboration is the development of Acuity’s lead drug candidate, “Cand5,” which is completing Phase I trials. The compound is intended to stop the progression of wet age-related macular degeneration, a condition for which current treatments are only administered by intravitreal injection. The compound reduces the production of a protein called vascular endothelial growth factor-one reason attributed to the development of abnormal blood vessels in the eyes-with RNAi technology.
By using Intradigm’s drug delivery technology, Acuity believes it can develop a therapy to be administered as an eye drop. Though the company declined to announce specific details about the underlying technologies, Acuity President and CEO Dale Pfost, PhD, says the delivery method is a form of encapsulation technology that incorporates a variable means for targeting into its surface. “In so doing, one can take into account the sorts of tissue to which you’re looking to deliver the drug,” he says.
Other goals for the collaboration are to develop a sustained-release formulation for the Cand5 compound and to explore other indications for the medication such as diabetic reinopathy.