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    Drug-delivery technologies will transform care


    ForSight VISION5 is developing Helios, a flexible prostaglandin-eluting ring that fits beneath the eyelids. The target drug delivery and replacement cycle is 6 months, said CEO John Maroney, matching the typical medical visit schedule for glaucoma.

    Phase I data shows a 6.7 mm Hg reduction in IOP over 3 months. The most frequent adverse events were hyperemia, similar to or less than levels reported with prostaglandin drops, and slightly elevated mucus. Phase II showed sustained IOP lowering over 6 months. The company is planning a phase III trial for 2016.

    “Prostaglandin works, but only if you take the drops, which most patients don’t,” Maroney said. “Helios is convenient for patients. It’s easy. It ensures continuous dosing. It gives physicians control over dosing and payer can recognize financial benefits from better control disease.”

    Each panelist in the New Horizons in Drug Delivery session presented technologies that feature a sustained- or controlled-release component.


    GrayBug is developing micro- and nanoparticle-controlled release vehicles for injection. The particles are at the injection site and remain outside the visual axis, said Justin Hanes, PhD, founder and chief scientific officer. Drug is released as the particles erode at a controlled rate and are absorbed. The company is working with glaucoma drugs for both neuroprotection and IOP-lowering.

    The neuroprotective agent targets DLKinase, a key initiator of neuron death in glaucoma. In a rat model, the most effective dose protected about 90% of neurons from artificially elevated IOP. Optic nerve transection studies show the agent protects against retinal ganglion cell (RGC) degeneration. A prostaglandin IOP-lowering study showed a 3 mm Hg drop in IOP in normotensive rabbits.

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