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    Innovation in glaucoma thriving

    advances in pharmaceuticals, devices, and diagnostics fueling growth for sector


    AßSee Pharma

    This German company is pursuing what could become the first neuroprotective agent against glaucoma and dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The company name, AßSee, is derived from amyloid beta, a peptide thought to play a role in the development of Alzheimer’s disease as well as ocular disease.

    An age-related accumulation of Aß in the retinal tissues appears to be linked with glaucoma through toxicity to retinal ganglion cells and with AMD through toxicity to retinal epithelial cells, explained AßSee CEO Alexander Gebauer, MD, PhD. The company’s lead compound, MRZ-99030, impedes formation of these toxic Aß oligomers and promotes the formation of nontoxic forms that are cleared from ocular tissues. The agent is administered as eye drops.

    “This is the only topical Aß agent under development,” Dr. Gebauer said. “In a rodent model, we saw the death of retinal ganglion cells almost completely stopped by MRZ-99030 eye drops. We saw a 95% protection effect with no increase in IOP. We have phase I results and chronic toxicology with very promising data and excellent safety.”

    The company plans parallel clinical trials for glaucoma and dry AMD, with phase IIb trials scheduled to begin this year.

    “We were encouraged from speaking with the FDA about our regulatory strategy and clinical program,” Dr. Gebauer said. “Hopefully, we can bring this compound to market within the next couple of years.”

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