Glaucoma is a major reason for irreversible blindness. Credit: PublicDomainPictures / Pixabay.

Chinese company Arctic Vision has entered a new research partnership with the University of Hong Kong’s (HKU) Ophthalmology department to discover and develop new neuroprotective treatments for glaucoma.

Carried out as non-intraocular pressure (IOP)-associated procedures to hinder or slow down glaucomatous neurodegeneration, neuroprotection is an unmet requirement in managing glaucoma.

The latest alliance between Arctic Vision and HKU aims to find medicines with a new mechanism of action for glaucoma treatment.

The partners will focus on controlling mitochondrial activity as a neuroprotective approach for glaucoma and creating a microRNA-based gene treatment to protect the optic nerve in this patient population.

Through the four-year alliance, Arctic Vision and HKU will work on remodelling cellular pathways for neuroprotection and neuro-regeneration in retinal ganglion cells (RGCs).

This research in the microRNA-based gene therapies area is being sponsored by Arctic Vision.

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The focus will be on developing in vivo experimental glaucoma models and conducting a Phase I clinical trial.

Arctic Vision founder, CEO and board director Dr Eddy Wu said: “Arctic Vision’s objective is to discover, develop and deliver the most novel pan-ocular therapies globally.

“Over the past couple of years, we have built a strong clinical portfolio of in-licensed assets with proprietary technology platforms while raising over $140m in capital.”

Wu added that the research will boost the company’s R&D expertise and its portfolio for the unmet medical needs of patients across China and internationally.

An optic neuropathy, glaucoma causes gradual loss of RGCs. The disease is a major cause of irreversible blindness globally.

The most commonly available treatment methods target reducing IOP to decelerate degeneration of optic nerves. But a substantial portion of such patients develops progressive visual impairment even after proper IOP control.

At present, no approved neuroprotective treatment is available for glaucoma.

Cell & Gene Therapy Coverage on Pharmaceutical Technology supported by Cytiva.

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