The ophthalmology market is most profitable in the arena of difficult to treat degenerative retinal diseases. Approved treatments like Eylea®, Lucentis® or even off-label products like Avestin® all are treating successfully the angiogenesis-related wet age-related macular degeneration (wet AMD form) with no impact on the much more frequent condition of dry age-related macular degeneration (dry AMD). There is also a strong need for patients to come to easier administration dosing regimens than intravitreal injections into the eye.
Apart from the less than a handful of listed retinal therapeutic treatments, there is a huge unmet medical need for a multitude of retinal diseases. For example the following eye diseases and indications have limited treatment options:
- Neuromyelitis optica (orphan disease)
- Retinitis Pigmentosa (orphan disease)
- Dry AMD
- Diabetic neuropathy eye conditions
Because of these current shortcomings, CuroNZ has trialled NRP2945 in severe retinal eye disease models like optic nerve ligation causing severe ischemia and elevated intravitreal pressure rodent models.
In addition to the intervention study using the optic nerve ligation glaucoma model, we trialled NRP2945 as an eye drop in a therapeutic manner while controlling against the comparator brimonidine (approved for intravitreal pressure lowering effects from Allergan). Brimonidine has shown neuroprotective effects in animal retinal models when given in prophylactic fashion but has no effect when given therapeutically. In contrast, when NRP2945 was administered therapeutically in the optic nerve ligation model, it showed significantly better a-wave preservation than the prophylactically injected brimonidine and comparable b-wave protection. Eye-drops of NRP2945 were administered twice a day starting at 1hr and 45 min after start of ligation. There is currently no effective treatment available for the optic nerve ligation animal model that can achieve such a high therapeutic effect like NRP2945 did when given in a delayed manner after injury.
We believe this very promising result puts NRP2945 in a prime position to become a chronic eye-drop treatment for severe retinal diseases in the future.