Inc., a clinical stage biotechnology company focused on developing
new treatments for blinding eye diseases, and Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co.,
Ltd., today announced the initiation of a Phase 3 clinical trial to
evaluate rebamipide ophthalmic suspension in patients with dry eye
syndrome. Dry eye is a multifactorial disease of the tears and ocular
surface, and one of the most common diseases treated by ophthalmologists
in their daily practices. According to the 2011 Market Scope Dry Eye
Report, 25 million Americans and 370 million patients worldwide
suffer from dry eye.
Rebamipide ophthalmic suspension is a novel compound discovered by
Otsuka Pharmaceutical and has a new mechanism of action to increase the
level of mucin in the tear film covering the conjunctiva and cornea. In
January 2012, the drug was launched for the treatment of dry eye
syndrome in Japan as Mucosta® ophthalmic suspension UD2%.
Subjective symptoms of dry eye vary and can include dryness, foreign
body sensation, itching, burning sensation, eye pain and photophobia.
Advanced dry eye syndrome may lead to serious complications and ocular
surface damage that can result in decreased vision.
"Advancing rebamipide ophthalmic suspension into late-stage development
is an exciting and important milestone for Acucela and for the patients
who suffer from the debilitating effects of dry eye," said Ryo Kubota,
MD, PhD, chairman, president, and chief executive officer, Acucela Inc.
"Today's announcement is in line with our strategy to develop
leading-edge therapies to help patients living with disabling eye
diseases around the world. We are excited about the initiation of this
important clinical study for rebamipide, as we continue to advance our
pipeline of innovative ophthalmology treatments through the clinic."
Dr. Taro Iwamoto, President and Representative Director, Otsuka
Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., stated, "Following the launch of the product
in Japan, we are pleased to start Phase 3 clinical trials for rebamipide
ophthalmic suspension in the U.S. We are partnering with Acucela, a
company with a wealth of experience in the field of ophthalmology in
North America. Otsuka expects our Japan- originated new innovation,
designed to normalize the quality of tears, will be welcomed by many
patients in the U.S. who are waiting for new treatments."