Gene Signal, a company focused on developing innovative drugs to manage angiogenesis based conditions, today announced the publication of data demonstrating the significant activity of aganirsen (GS-101, eye drops) in two important models of retinal neovascular disease, wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and ischemic retinopathy. Gene Signal's aganirsen is an antisense oligonucleotide that is expected to complete a phase III trial for the treatment of progressive neovascularisation in the cornea in 2012. These data, published online in Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science (doi:10.1167/iovs.11-9064), demonstrate the ability of aganirsen to reach and exert activity on the retina.
"Age-related macular degeneration and ischemic retinopathies are major causes of blindness that are associated with neovascularisation. This can lead to sub-retinal and intravitreal hemorrhage, and tragically retinal detachment, which causes blindness," explained lead author Dr. Sylvain Chemtob, Université de Montréal, Montreal, Canada.
"For the first time in this study, we have demonstrated that IRS-1, an angiogenic protein, is expressed in the retina and that aganirsen is able to effectively attenuate neovascularization by inhibiting IRS-1 expression, without affecting normal vascularisation, " noted co-lead author Dr. Matthew Lawrence from RxGen Inc., Hamden, CT, USA.
Aganirsen blocks pathological neovascularization by inhibiting IRS-1. Clinical studies to date have shown that aganirsen is able to safely and effectively inhibit the development of progressive corneal neovascularization secondary to infectious keratitis or chemical burns both of which could lead to corneal graft replacement.
"The only effective drugs approved to target neovascularization in AMD and ischemic retinopathies are intraocular injections of anti-VEGF compounds, such as Lucentis. The studies reported in Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, if confirmed in clinical trials, show unprecedented evidence that topical aganirsen is an innovative compound that may offer advantages over currently available drugs due to its topical delivery and different mode of action as well as an excellent efficacy and safety profile. A topical agent for retinal neovascular disease would revolutionize treatment," noted Eric Viaud, CEO of Gene Signal.