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    Drug-delivery technologies will transform care


    “Our particles form a mass, which allows for more drug to be implanted,” Hanes said. “We can package small molecules and macromolecules and they all stay where they are injected.”

    Mati Therapeutics

    Mati Therapeutics is nearing its first phase III trial of The Evolute, a punctal plug that elutes latanoprost. The device has been tested in nearly 700 patients across 10 clinical trials with more than 6 months of treatment exposure in some patients, said Bob Butchofsky, founder and CEO.

    Punctal plug delivery gives less overall drug exposure compared to drops with more drug actually delivered, he said. The latest phase II U.S. trial showed a consistent 5 mm Hg to 6 mm Hg reduction in IOP over 3 months, at which point the plug is replaced. Trials show the standard latanoprost adverse events, but conjunctival hyperemia is only 7.6%, about half the rate seen with eye drops.

    “We see room for multiple technologies to replace eye drops,” Butchofsky said. “It will be good for the physician community and for the patient community to have multiple choices to replace eye drops.”

    Ocular Therapeutix

    Ocular Therapeutix loads its punctal plug with prostaglandin. The plug is dry when inserted, then softens and expands upon contact with tears. The plug is in phase IIb trials while the same system, loaded with steroid for post-op pain and inflammation, is in phase III, said Art Discoll, vice president of product development.

    Phase IIa results show robust, clinically significant IOP reduction at 3 months. Plugs are well tolerated by patients with no change in hyperemia, no excessive tearing, and no serious adverse events.

    “Our view is to transform the treatment of ocular disease using sustained release to reduce the need for frequent drops or injections,” Discoll said. “We are enrolling a phase IIb trial in the United States and planning phase III activity.”

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