ThromboGenics NV (Euronext Brussels: THR), an integrated biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing innovative ophthalmic medicines for the back of the eye, today announces that it has been awarded a €3 million grant from the Flemish agency for Innovation by Science and Technology (IWT). The grant funding will be used by ThromboGenics to support research into potential new biotherapeutics for the treatment of diabetic macular edema (DME). The aim of these new therapeutics will be to reduce the vascular leakage and inflammation which are central to this sight-threatening condition.
ThromboGenics intends to use this funding to develop a much better understanding of the role of a novel pathway in diabetic macular edema as the basis for discovering new pre-clinical therapeutic candidates. This pathway is thought to play an important role in the development of DME by modulating vascular leakage and inflammation. A key part of the IWT grant funded work will be the development of new in vitro assays and in vivo models to identify biotherapeutics which activate the pathway. This will allow the Company to identify pre-clinical candidates that meet a target product profile based around in vitro potency, in vivo efficacy and drug like properties. These new candidates will be generated by ThromboGenics leveraging the AMP-Rx protein design technology which the company licensed from Eleven Biotherapeutics in May 2013.
DME results from fluid leakage into the area of the retina which is responsible for clear central vision. It occurs in type 1 and type 2 diabetes patients. DME is sight-threatening and can cause moderate to severe visual loss. Globally, 21 million people are estimated to live with DME. Over 20% of people living with type 1 diabetes and 14-25% of people with type 2 diabetes (depending on their use of insulin) will develop DME within ten years.
Dr Patrik De Haes, CEO of ThromboGenics comments: "The award of this grant from IWT will enable us to continue to progress our research activities in the field of diabetic eye disease. We believe that by gaining a greater understanding of this novel pathway we may be able to discover and develop new biotherapeutics that could play a key role in the treatment of diabetic macular edema. DME is a very prevalent condition where there is still scope to improve on the clinical outcomes delivered by current treatment options including laser coagulation, anti-VEGF antibodies and steroids."