Diabetic macular edema (DME) is a leading cause of blindness in today’s growing diabetic population. In diabetics, chronically high blood sugar can weaken blood vessels in the eye and cause fluids to leak. Fluid accumulating in the macula (the central region of the retina responsible for keenest vision) can result in swelling, blurred vision, and eventually central vision loss. The current standard of care for DME includes regular injections into the eye of repurposed anticancer agents or corticosteroids, treatments associated with side effects such as inflammation and infection.
At ARVO, Verseon’s Dr. Melissa Calton presented comprehensive preclinical data for one of Verseon’s new, potent and selective small-molecule plasma kallikrein inhibitors, VE-3539. In contrast to current DME drugs, Verseon’s compound shows pharmacokinetics suitable for oral administration. Results from a well-established efficacy model, the retinal vascular permeability model, show that VE-3539 successfully reduces retinal leakage and restores mean circulation times. “VE-3539 is the first orally dosed plasma kallikrein inhibitor to demonstrate efficacy in this preclinical model of DME,” said Dr. Calton. Additionally, Verseon’s candidate is efficacious in another widely used model of DME, the human plasma kallikrein injection model, that mimics the retinal thickening observed in patients.
“Verseon’s DME drugs could offer a safe and convenient alternative to intravitreal injections,” said Dr. Calton. “With their oral route of administration, our drug candidates are especially well-suited for prophylaxis, providing an important benefit for the growing number of diabetics who are at risk of losing their eye sight through DME.”
Verseon uses a computer-driven drug discovery platform embedded in a comprehensive chemistry and biology workflow to design new drug candidates for a wide range of diseases. In addition to the diabetic macular edema program, the company currently has drug programs in anticoagulation, hereditary angioedema, and oncology.
About Verseon’s diabetic macular edema program
Verseon has developed a new class of potent, selective compounds for the treatment of diabetic macular edema. The Company’s plasma kallikrein inhibitors target a validated pathway addressing an underlying cause of the disease. In contrast to current injectable DME drugs, Verseon’s inhibitors show pharmacokinetics suitable for oral administration in preclinical testing. Several lead candidates have also demonstrated efficacy in reducing retinal thickening and retinal leakage, two hallmarks of the disease, when administered orally.
Verseon Corporation (www.verseon.com
, AIM: VSN) is a technology-based pharmaceutical company that pairs a proprietary, computational drug discovery platform with a comprehensive in-house chemistry and biology workflow to develop novel therapeutics that are unlikely to be found using conventional methods. The Company is applying its platform to a growing drug pipeline and currently has four active drug programs in the areas of anticoagulation, diabetic macular edema, hereditary angioedema, and oncology. The anticoagulation program is scheduled to enter phase I clinical trials in 2018.
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