May 5, 2021
Oral DR drugs could provide an alternative to eye injections
Fremont, Calif.—One of Verseon’s oral drug candidates for diabetic retinopathy (DR), VE-4840, has successfully demonstrated efficacy in an important in vivo model of the disease. Tests showed that treatment with VE-4840 significantly reduced diabetes-induced retinal vascular permeability compared to placebo. This study strongly suggests that VE-4840 mitigates damage to retinal blood vessels and is also a milestone in establishing the compound’s effectiveness as an oral treatment of diabetic retinopathy.
The study involved rats with induced diabetes, which suffer from many of the symptoms of retinopathy seen in human diabetes patients and make good in vivo models for human DR. Ten days after researchers induced diabetes, these rats received VE-4840 orally once a day for a period of two weeks, and the health of their eyes was checked at regular intervals. The retinal blood vessels in treated rodents were noticeably less diseased than those in the non-treated group.
These results are a positive development for 463 million diabetes patients worldwide, nearly one third of whom have various stages of diabetic retinopathy. The number of people with DR is expected to grow significantly as the global diabetic population increases to over 600 million over the next 25 years.
Common among diabetes patients, DR is a progressive disease that begins with damage to the retinal blood vessels and leads to vision loss at later stages of the disease. In the early stages, the damage to retinal blood vessels is often small or localized and increases in size and severity over time, causing more extensive damage to the retina.
Current treatment for various forms of DR and the related condition diabetic macular edema is repeated injections in the eye, along with photocoagulation surgical intervention for patients not responding to eye injections. Because of the limitations and risks of current treatments, the early stages of DR are simply left untreated until progression to moderate disease. The purpose of Verseon’s oral DR program is to fill this large unmet need for an effective, oral drug for prophylaxis and treatment of this widespread condition.
“We are very pleased with the results of this preclinical study. These results will help form a robust foundation of planned regulatory filings with agencies like the FDA and EMA,” said Dr. David Kita, Vice President of R&D at Verseon.
About Verseon’s Diabetic Retinopathy Program
Using its unique physics- and AI-driven platform, Verseon has developed a new class of potent, selective small-molecule plasma kallikrein inhibitors for the treatment of diabetic retinopathy, a major cause of adult blindness. Several lead candidates have demonstrated efficacy in reducing retinal thickening and leakage—two hallmarks of the process leading to a major form of diabetic vision loss. In contrast to current treatments administered as either recurring eye injections or implants, Verseon’s drug candidates can be orally administered as a possible monotherapy or in conjunction with current treatments for those with advanced DR.
About the Company
To advance global health, Verseon International Corporation (www.verseon.com) has created a better, more scalable process for designing and developing new drugs addressing currently untreatable or poorly treated conditions. The company’s drug development platform incorporates fundamental advancements in molecular modeling, directed synthesis, integrated translational research and advanced AI to develop drug compounds that have never before been synthesized—and are virtually impossible to find using conventional methods. Verseon is a clinical-stage company with a growing pipeline that currently includes seven drug programs in the areas of anticoagulation, diabetic retinopathy, hereditary angioedema, oncology, and metabolic disorders.