A Swedish research group at St. Erik Eye Hospital, Stockholm, Karolinska Institutet, Solna, and Umeå University has published scientific discoveries concerning the serious infectious eye disease EKC (epidemic keratoconjunctivitis) in the prestigious journal Acta Ophthalmologica. The researchers have shown that patients exhibit more severe symptoms and clinical findings in EKC caused by some specific adenoviruses.
Patients who had been infected by adenoviruses that bind to a specific receptor in the eye, sialic acid-binding receptors, exhibited more severe symptoms and clinical findings compared to adenoviruses that do not bind to this receptor. Initially, only a few patients had corneal opacities, but after two weeks the majority of the participants in the study had developed such opacities. The study concludes that there is an unmet medical need for treatment of adenovirus-caused ocular infections, particularly infections caused by adenoviruses of the sialic acid-binding type, to relieve acute symptoms and prevent the occurrence of corneal opacities affecting vision.
“EKC is a widely spread disease that affects millions of people every year all over the world. Also in Sweden we see many cases every year. Today we are not able to offer the patients any effective treatment and we therefore hope that a drug candidate can be further developed to meet the patients’ need for treatment”, said Associate Professor Carl-Gustaf Laurell, physician and principal investigator of the patient study.
“The publication occurs at a convenient time for Adenovir Pharma and our ongoing phase 2-trial, which is in its final stage. The results provide further scientific support for the medical usefulness of an effective drug for the treatment of EKC. We are preparing for a divestment of the company and new scientific data is something that potential future partners see as positive,” said Björn Dellgren, CEO and project leader at Adenovir Pharma.
New medical treatment under development
EKC (epidemic keratoconjunctivitis) affects millions of people every year all over the world and can lead to sight impairment. Today there is no effective antiviral treatment for EKC. Adenovir Pharma develops a new and innovative drug against the serious and very contagious eye disease EKC. A double-blind randomized phase 2 study is in progress at several eye clinics in Sweden and Germany. Adenovir Pharma has previously demonstrated in a phase 1 study that this drug candidate, APD-209, is well tolerated. VINNOVA, the Swedish Governmental Agency for Innovation Systems, has granted Adenovir Pharma funding for the pharmaceutical development of a second generation drug, APD-514, against EKC.